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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

On the road to recovery after river accident

Travis Lockwood reckons he is lucky to be alive. The Cobram man, 33, is recovering in the Royal Melbourne Hospital after an accident at Thompsons Beach.

JESSICA GRIMBLE January 31, 2013 4:00am

Travis Lockwood reckons he is lucky to be alive.

The Cobram man, 33, is recovering in the Royal Melbourne Hospital after an accident at Thompsons Beach that left him with a fractured back and foot and broken ribs.

‘‘I was running and jumping off the bank like I always do — and the bank collapsed underneath me,’’ Mr Lockwood said.

‘‘We always jump off the bank — some of my friends do backflips.

‘‘We’re always careful and we always check for anything in the river — because we’ve grown up at the river and we know what to do.

‘‘This was a freak accident. You don’t expect the bank to collapse under you.’’

The accident occurred about 5.30pm on January 6.

Mr Lockwood’s friend David Wilson, formerly a lifeguard, carried him from the water and phoned an ambulance for help.

He said his friends initially didn’t realise how injured he was — but it only took one look at his mangled foot to realise they needed to act.

‘‘When the bank collapsed, about 4m, I was in shock — I was very lucky to be alive,’’ he said.

‘‘I don’t really remember any of it, but my friends have told me what happened.’’

Mr Lockwood underwent surgery on his foot on January 18, which involved ‘‘peeling my foot back like a banana’’ and almost rebuilding his foot.

‘‘There are two plates and screws in my foot. They cut from the top of my ankle to my toes and peeled my foot back like a banana,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ll be left with two massive scars on my foot.’’

Doctors are working towards taking Mr Lockwood off the massive amounts of pain medication he has been taking since his admission to hospital in Melbourne on January 7.

He remains in a back brace and is working towards leaving hospital in Melbourne to enter rehabilition in Shepparton.

He will be in a wheelchair, but doctors have told him he will walk again.

They will not operate on his back — instead letting the fractures heal themselves.

Mr Lockwood, a manager at Crazy Clarks in Cobram, said his workplace had assured him that his job would be available when he was well enough to return.

‘‘I’m just so thankful to be alive,’’ he said.

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