CHIANGRAI TIMES – A FORMER Royal Marine from Newport is fighting for his life in a Thai hospital following a road accident.
Steven Thomas, 39, is in a coma after being injured when he came off the scooter he was riding on the island of Phuket last Tuesday.
In the past few days he has undergone a six-hour operation to fix a broken jaw and cheek bone and doctors are now trying to remove fluid on his brain.
Mr Thomas’ insurance company will not fund his treatment and his parents’ mum Linda, 57, and stepdad Allan Gardiner, 61, are facing a bill of up to £40,000 to bring him home.
Speaking from Thailand Mr Gardiner said the family were “devastated” by the incident.
He said: “To see him lie there buckles your knees every time. It’s still heartbreaking now when the realisation of what’s happened comes to you.
“It’s just a really, really tough time. He’s been in the Iraq war, he’s been in lots of situations but this is by far the worst he has been through.”
Mr Thomas, who was a Lance Corporal with 42 Commando Royal Marines and based in Plymouth, had been in Thailand for three weeks studying a form of martial arts called Muay Thai at the time of the accident.
Now family and friends back home in Newport and comrades from around the world have donated money to help pay his medical bills and bring him home.
A group called For Steve ‘Tommo’ Thomas has been set up on Facebook where hundreds of messages of support have been left for Mr Thomas and his family, who are currently being supported by members of the Royal Marines Association in Thailand.
Around £500 has already been raised and several fundraising events, including a rock band music night, are being organised.
The father to Ruby, 18, and Llewelyn, 11, joined the forces in 1998 and was among the first troops on the ground during the battle for Basra Palace.
He left the forces five years later to work for a private security firm where he was responsible for overseeing voting during the Iraqi elections.
He currently works for a firm called MAST security travelling aboard ships all over the world protecting them from pirates.
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