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Medway teacher Zoe Eleftheriou suffers serious burns after petrol station explodes in Cambodia

A Kent teacher has suffered serious burns after a petrol station exploded in Cambodia.

Zoe Eleftheriou, 22, who is from Medway, was riding past on a moped when the blast hit her in the resort town of Siem Reap, home to seventh world wonder Angkor Wat.

Her American colleague Abigail Alexander, 18, was also hurt.

Zoe Eleftheriou. Picture: Facebook (15443553)
Zoe Eleftheriou. Picture: Facebook (15443553)

Video footage shows how the gas station burst into flames when a tanker truck carrying hundreds of gallons of petrol ignited while on a delivery.

Ms Eleftheriou had been working at Camp Cambodia, an elephant conservation group.

Her mother Mary, who is believed to live in Rochester, is at her daughter's hospital bedside.

Mary said: "Abbey was sitting behind Zoe on the moped and in doing so protected Zoe from more serious burns."

She has been keeping family and friends informed via social media.

Posting on Saturday, she said: "I arrived beside Zoe this morning to find her bandaged back up and still with tubes down her throat. It was explained they were still there because of the swelling on her neck and the rest of her body.

"The second doctor that spoke to me said her swelling was more than they would have expected so they are monitoring her for infection.

"Thanks to your prayers no infection has appeared yet which is a blessing."

She said Zoe would have to have many operations, adding: "She is able to nod and shake her head to questions or write letters in the air with her bandaged hands but trying to guess what she is saying is pretty hard.

"They expect the swelling to go down within the next seven days."

She said she had managed to read some get well messages to Zoe before her monitor started making noises, which meant she was either stressed or excited.

She added: "To enter into her room is like going into theatre - gloves, masks and apron and they kick you out after 10 minutes, if you're lucky 30 minutes.

"Not much more to say about our darling Zoe only she is a fighter and will pull though this so please keep her and Abbey in your prayers."

Abbey is still being cared for in Cambodia but it is hoped she will fly back to the USA on Wednesday. Zoe is being treated in Bangkok.

GoFundMe page raising money for Abbey Alexander (15443654)
GoFundMe page raising money for Abbey Alexander (15443654)

Posting today, Mary thanked everyone for their support, saying: "Your messages have kept both Zoe's and my spirits up and are keeping us going."

She said of Zoe: "She is having surgery every day and is struggling with the pain afterwards.

"She still has tubes in her throat so is unable to speak but the nurses have taped a marker pen to her bandaged arm and she is writing us messages.

"Tomorrow the whole medical team are having a meeting regrading Zoe to discuss the next course of action regarding her treatment and care.

"Zoe says she sleeps better when we are there so this morning we sat while she slept. Will see her this evening about 6, hopefully in less pain than yesterday and the day before."

Abbey didn't have any travel insurance and Mary has asked people to help by donating via a GoFundMe page.

But she praised Zoe's insurance company, World Nomads, who she said had been "outstanding", adding: "From the moment we raised the incident with them they have been very supportive and have instigated processes such as arranging medical evacuation for Zoe from Siem Reap Referral Hospital in Cambodia to the specialist burns ICU at Bangkok Hospital in Thailand."

So far, more than £20,000 ($25,000) has been raised for Abbey's fund. You can donate here.

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