Byron Bay surfer Matt Scarff remains in coma after king hit
WELL-known Byron Bay surfer Matt Scarff remains in an induced coma after being king hit, then undergoing brain surgery in Bali and was expected to be airlifted from Bali to Royal Perth Hospital late last night.
Careflight director, Ian Badham told The Northern Star that the CareFlight doctor and nurse are flying the mission on the medi-jet based in Darwin for CareFlight International Air Ambulance.
The sister of Mr Scarff, Anna Scarff, is already in Bali and will accompany him and the medical team on the flight from Bali to Perth, Mr Badham said.
Anna Scarff said Matt had received excellent treatment at Sanglah Hospital in Bali after he was punched by a stranger when he went to the aid of a woman outside a nightclub on Friday night and suffered a head injury.
"Matt will be taken to Perth as Darwin does not have the neurosurgical facilities needed," Mr Badham said.
The 41-year-old surfing instructor sustained major head injuries after he was hit outside the Townhouse Club in Seminyak, Bali, early Saturday morning.
Mr Scarff has undergone brain surgery to relieve a clot and pressure on his brain from the injury and the family were fundraising for ongoing medical costs. A crowd-funded campaign had raised more than $50,000 by yesterday afternoon.
Close friend of Mr Scarff's, Dougal Pennefeather of Byron Bay, said he had last seen Matt when he visited Mr Pennefeather's home in August.
Mr Pennefeather said his friend had been looking forward to a good tourism season ahead.
"He was just enjoying life," Mr Pennefeather said.
"He's been my best friend for 20 years. He used to run the Swell surf school in Byron Bay, and then he was the first to set up a surf school in Bali. He is a friendly guy, he attracts people to him.
"He takes orphans surfing and kids on camps. He helps people."
Mr Pennefeather said media reports about alcohol-fuelled violence leading to the injury didn't fit with what he knew of his friend.
"He's never been involved in anything like this before," he said.
Mr Pennefeather said criticism of Mr Scarff for not having travel insurance was also unwarranted: "He was living in Bali. Tell me, do you have travel insurance when you are living in Australia?"
As well as fundraising in Australia for Mr Scarff, Mr Pennefeather said Aussie ex-pats in Bali were also holding a fundraiser at the Cocoon restaurant in Legian, Bali.
Yesterday a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said officials from the Australian Consulate-General in Bali are providing consular assistance to Mr Scarff and his family, including providing advice on medical evacuation options.
"Our thoughts are with the 41-year old Australian man who was the victim of a serious assault in Bali on the evening of 15 November, and with his family," the spokesperson said.
"Such incidents serve as an unfortunate reminder of the potential hazards that Australians can face while overseas.
"It is particularly important that all Australians who travel or live overseas ensure they have appropriate insurance coverage."