Paul Nicholls recounts leech terror after horror fall
PAUL Nicholls has recalled the horrifying moment ‘something flew out of my knee’ and his desperate battle against bloodthirsty creatures while trapped at the bottom of a Thai waterfall for three days.
The former EastEnders star told ITV’s Loose Women that the accident, which happened while he was travelling in Koh Samui earlier this year, was caused when he was chased by a pack of wild dogs.
Panicking, Paul thought his only escape route was to jump 20ft (6m) into the water.
‘I hit the water, and I remember thinking, “Thank God the water’s deep enough,” because I didn’t know… and then my leg hit and I was like, “Oh my God, that’s painful!”‘
‘And when I came up, I saw where my kneecap should be there was just a hole. And I was holding on to it and screaming and screaming, and then I let go and a bit of blood squirted into the water and — this is the worst bit — that’s when these things came out of the water and swimming.
‘I thought, “Those are leeches, those are very big leeches,” and as soon as the blood hit the water, these crabs came out, and I managed to get rid of them quite quickly, but the leeches just seemed to start coming out of holes in the wall, they were coming out of the mud, they were just coming out of everywhere.’
While Paul admits his three-day ordeal left him hallucinating at points, he insisted he was not imagining the creatures.
‘I know I wasn’t hallucinating, this was real,’ he said. ‘I spent all day trying to keep my leg from getting more blood in the water, anything that came near me I was just batting away, and screaming for help.’
But worse was yet to come when Paul realised he’d have to move if he was to survive the night.
‘Basically, I knew that I couldn’t stay in that first pool that I landed in because, if it got dark, I couldn’t see these things coming towards me, and I thought if one of them gets on … I don’t know,’ he said.
Paul said he doesn’t remember much after somehow dropping to a second pool.
‘I remember bits and bobs and I knew I was hallucinating at one point, because I was seeing people down there, and they were opening their front doors and saying, “Shut up, be quiet!”‘ he said.
He likened the stomach-churning moment he destroyed his kneecap to when a boxer’s gum shield ‘flies out of his mouth’.
‘Something flew out of my knee — it was part of my kneecap,’ he said.
Paul was eventually rescued when a passer-by spotted his abandoned scooter.
Author: Anna Thomson