Bali bag snatch tale ‘not entirely true’
A friend of the Australian women who was seriously injured in Bali after claiming to be a victim of a violent bag snatch has revealed the story was "not entirely true".
Last week, Byron Bay hairdresser Emma Bell, 25, was medevaced home for emergency surgery after being left with broken cheekbones, a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain after she claimed to have been targeted by a thief on a motorcycle as she walked along a path in Canggu.
According to Bell, she was smashed onto the ground and dragged several metres before blacking out - but the story was quickly dismissed by Indonesian police.
Now, Emi Thompson, the friend who established a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to help cover Bell's costs, has admitted the original version of events wasn't accurate.
Writing on the fundraising page, Thompson apologised but also insisted it had not been a scam.
"I am very sorry to tell you all that my original posted story was not entirely true," she wrote.
"I humbly and 'formally apologise' for misleading everyone with my initial story, perhaps allowing people to think that this might have been some sort of scam … Which of course it isn't."
Thompson went on to clarify the "true" details of the case.
"Emma had a horrendous accident and has brain injuries, horrible facial and body injuries that will require significant operations and rehabilitation and she does not have any Insurance Cover," she said, before listing what was "untrue".
"There was no mugging - Emma fell off a scooter with no helmet on."
Thompson admitted she had "probably acted too quickly" without verifying the facts of the story.
"I probably acted too quickly, on information provided to me by people in Bali - I did not confirm or verify that information - at the time I started the Go Fund Me Page," she wrote.
"It seems that Emma came off a scooter and was laying unconscious in the gutter, with no helmet and ended up in an ill-equipped hospital, with brain injuries, as well as horrendous facial injuries and broken bones in many places.
"For the last week, we have been trying to get to the bottom of "where the original story came from" - information was jumbled, confusing and still is somewhat of a mystery. Bali is not the easiest place to communicate with.
"Now looking back and seeing that everyone was in a state of shock - I was anxious, emotional, confused - and perhaps somewhat too quick to act, as I was encouraged by the people in Bali who were on the spot with Emma and involved with her family, all of us being totally overwhelmed by Emma's ongoing complicated medical requirements."
At the end of the lengthy post, Thompson explained that she wasn't yet sure whether to transfer all of the "beautiful people's money back to them" - or to continue with the appeal to provide her friend's family "reimbursement of some of the funds that they so desperately need".
Bell was medevaced to Perth last Saturday night after spending a number of days in intensive care at a Bali hospital.
Immediately after landing on Australian soil, Bell was rushed to Royal Perth Hospital where she underwent emergency surgery for bleeding on the brain.
It cost $58,000 to transfer Bell from Bali to Perth, where she remains in hospital.
So far, $17,441 has been raised of the $100,000 target on GoFundMe.