Ecuador/Galapagos Islands: British couple incurs 25,000 dollars in medical bills after bus crash

Posted on November 25, 2014 • Filed under: Ecuador, Ecuador Travel, Galapagos Islands

Couple velieved they were held hostage as they could not leave hospital until bill paid in full. reported the couple made the 14-hour journey with Xavier’s mum, Teresa Houston, and brother, Dominic, on September 13 and weren’t due back until December. On September 27, they made the trip to Sierra Negra through the Coral Blanco hotel, where they were staying, and were making their descent when tragedy struck.

After being pinned between the bus and the ground, Xavier had to wait until all the other passengers had got off before using his good arm to dig himself out. Their tour guide was unable to call emergency services as his phone was out of charge so someone was sent on foot to the nearest town for help, but it was miles away.

A tourist who had heard the accident reported on the radio drove to the scene in a pick-up truck and took the injured to the island’s clinic where Xavier’s arms was put in a makeshift splint. Finally after battling with the local authorities for two days, we managed to get off the islands to the mainland. ‘We were eventually taken in a cargo plane to a private hospital on the mainland.
‘We knew the hospital would be expensive but it was either that or have my arm amputated.

‘We didn’t have any insurance but it was a no-brainer – we had to do it.’Xavier suffered a broken collar bone, shoulder blade and arm and also dislocated his elbow. Paulina also suffered a broken collar bone and nose, while Dominic lost two teeth and all the skin on one of his hands. Xavier was told he should return to the UK for treatment on his arm as soon as possible, but said he was told he couldn’t leave the hospital until he paid his medical fees of around US $25,000 (about £16,000) in cash. A trip to the Sierra Negra volcano on Isabela Island in the Galapagos Islands turned sour for the couple.A trip to the Sierra Negra volcano on Isabela Island in the Galapagos Islands turned sour for the couple

Paulina, Xavier and his family say they gave the hospital everything they could, but it took five weeks to raise the total and they say they were effectively imprisoned. Xavier’s dad transferred the remaining money over to Paulina’s aunt, Elena Mendez. The Ministry has been in constant communication with the injured tourists and the British Embassy in Quito. ‘Within the framework of its powers and jurisdiction, the Ministry has proceeded to suspend the Tourist Operator Sierra Negra Expeditions and Ecotourism in Isabela.


‘Suspension continues until the present date and Travel Agency Cabomartur in Santa Cruz was fined $5,000 more than the regulations.’As Ministry of Tourism we have acted with the full force of the law against these two tourist establishments.’On the other hand, the Ministry of Tourism has at no time told the tourists they will receive any financial compensation, since it is not within our competence. Read Article

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