American couple comfort Leeds backpacker in Fiji hospital

Daniel Mendoza and Victoria Blee were travelling the world together when the accident happened
Daniel Mendoza and Victoria Blee were travelling the world together when the accident happened
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An American couple have visited an injured Leeds backpacker in hospital after a serious car crash in Fiji.

The kind-hearted pair, who live on the Pacific island, comforted Daniel Mendoza, from Gipton, and his girlfriend Victoria Blee after they were hurt in the accident while on a dream round-the-world trip.

Rob and Lory Leacock heard about an appeal to find blood donors for the English backpackers on Facebook, and, realising that their families were struggling to travel to Fiji, decided to visit them in Lautoka Hospital.

Daniel, a former Cardinal Heenan High School pupil who worked in IT before going travelling, and Victoria have since undergone surgery and been evacuated separately to Brisbane, Australia, for further treatment.

They were travelling in a car that was involved in a crash after their vehicle hit a curb.

The Leacocks, who are American citizens based in Lautoka, said:-

"We heard about Daniel and Victoria on Facebook and decided to visit them at the Lautoka Hospital as we knew they would be alone there.

"There was enough blood for both of their initial operations. They have been well taken care of by the ICU staff at Lautoka Hospital but needed to be airlifted to Brisbane for further treatment that they could not get in Fiji. Both his family and Victoria's family are on their way to Brisbane to meet up with their kids.

"We would visit Daniel a couple times a day just to check on him and encourage him - he wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything other than water so we couldn't do much but talk and hug him, hold his hand and pray with him. It was so good to walk into ICU today and see him sitting up in bed with his glasses on and reading a magazine from 2014. Our hospitals do not have TVs, phones, or any entertainment of any type; we're happy to see he found a magazine and that he finally felt like reading.

"We also visited an American man who was in the same vehicle; he has also be in the ICU but was moved to a normal ward today. The American's wife was treated and released the same day as the accident. The American is to be released soon and will be returning to America this week and we know they will be glad to be home.

"Being in a Third World country is so very different - but being a patient in a Third World country's hospital can be very scary. Our own children live overseas, in Thailand and South Africa, and we know that if it were our child, we would love to have people visit them and make sure they were OK until we could get there."