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Woman recalls horrific Kenyan crash

PUBLISHED: 05:02 24 January 2003 | UPDATED: 16:12 24 February 2010

A TOURIST has told how she nearly died in a horrific road accident while on a safari holiday in Kenya which left three members of the same family dead.

A TOURIST has told how she nearly died in a horrific road accident while on a safari holiday in Kenya which left three members of the same family dead.

The accident happened while Naomi Milward was travelling to Lake Nakuru during a week long vacation to see the wildlife in the region.

Thirty-one-year-old Miss Milward, daughter of mid Suffolk district councillor Carol Milward, was injured after the accident between the tourist van and a car.

Miss Milward was left unconscious for up to an hour and three children of Kenyan Archbishop Stephen Ondiek died.

Miss Milward, who was the only tourist in the van with a driver on the Gilgil-Naivasha road, was airlifted to a hospital in Nairobi. She needed two major operations on her face, lasting six hours and three hours, and convalesced in the country for a further ten days.

She has had a further four-hour operation on her face in London after flying back following the accident. After suffering facial, back and arm scarring she thinks she will need to undergo plastic surgery and has had a tear duct put in, an eye realigned and a metal plate put in her nose.

Liberal Democrat Mrs Milward, a member of the ruling coalition administration at the district council, is currently looking after her daughter at the family home in Bacton, near Stowmarket, after the November accident.

But keen traveller Miss Milward says she would return to Kenya, a country she loved for its natural beauty and wonderful people, and is keen to thank the medical staff in both Nairobi and London.

Miss Milward, a recruitment manager from Torquay who has also travelled to Australia, America, the Caribbean and extensively in Europe, said: "I'm lucky to be here. The last thing I remember is seeing this wonderful lake we were passing. The next thing I remember is waking up in a hospital.

"In eight weeks I have had three massive operations, I think I will have to have plastic surgery eventually. To think what I have been through in eight weeks is unbelievable.

"It has been a nightmare and I have my low days and will not go out of the house yet. My memory is not great for the normal things, it's normally excellent.

"To think I could have gone, not woken up, and never have known, it's horrible, really scary. To come so close to not being here is frightening.''

She has had wonderful support from her mother Carol, who is full of praise for her daughter's courage, strength of character and the efforts of the medical staff abroad and in the UK.

She said: "She's been fantastic, has had fantastic support from people and is a real fighter. It has been a nightmare, will be a long haul, but she has had wonderful support from people.''

Miss Milward, who has been told she might have flashbacks, added: "I love travelling and would go back to Kenya.

"The people are wonderful mostly, it's a fascinating place and before the accident I saw some incredible animals, a lion a few feet away, elephants so close, hyena, ostrich, rhinoceros and buffalo.

"I am a very strong person, a strong character, and I am convinced eventually I will be ok.''

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