Courtesy of more than $200,000 raised by a Go Fund Me page 18-year-old Redhead surfer Lawson Rankin has arrived safely in Sydney after a medical evacuation from Bali.  

Lawson was in Bali for schoolies week having recently graduated from St Francis Xavier’s College. However late on Saturday night, he was involved in a scooter accident. According to his cousin Taren Brown, Lawson was trailing two friends on a motor scooter when a local motorcycle rider snatched a phone belonging to him and sped off. Lawson sped off in pursuit when the accident occurred. 

When his friends arrived on the scene they discovered Lawson’s scooter lodged deep inside a concrete drain filled with water. They found him unconscious, facedown drowning in the sewer with blood seeping from his cracked helmet. They lifted him out of the drain and performed CPR to resuscitate him before an ambulance took him to a local hospital. It was their quick actions that undoubtedly saved their mate’s life. 

He had surgery requiring around 20 stitches for a head wound and, while miraculously there was no skull or spinal fractures, the biggest concern was the brain hemorrhage he suffered and infection from the water that got into his lungs.

However, despite having travel insurance, Mr. Rankin was not licensed to ride a motorbike and his insurance company would not cover any of his medical costs. Those expenses were averaging 30 grand a day, before the cost of the medivac which is estimated at around 100K. It is of no help to Lawson, who is unconscious under sedation and in a critical condition, but the reminder of the travel insurance, or lack thereof, might be the biggest takeout from this tragedy. 

Almost no insurance companies cover you overseas if you have don’t have a motorcycle license at home. Some insurers also only have maximum engine size limits that you’re only insured to ride irrespective of what your license says. And then some cover you for whatever engine size you ride as long as you’re insured to do so in Australia. An International License also isn’t worth the paper it is printed on. The same carries for any passenger of an unlicensed rider involved in an accident. I for one have hired a scooter countless times without a motorbike license and would say 90 percent of scooter riders in Bali are the same. That has to change. 

Now thanks to the work of the Rankin Family, and the surf and wider community of Newcastle and far beyond, an incredible $230,000 was raised in just four days. That means Lawson is now in Sydney’s Prince of Wales Hospital with his parents by his side and under the supervision of one of the best medical teams in Australia. Today his brother Nelson posted an emotional video on Facebook of Lawson’s first moments awake with his father Phil and family. 

The family have publicly thanked everyone for their support and well wishes and have closed the page down. We wish Lawson all the best in his recovery and hope to see him ripping the lefts behind the Tower as soon a possible.