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A Maida Vale man who suffered second degree burns in a “traumatic” speedboat accident which also left his six-year-old son badly injured has spoken of his amazing “luck”.

Robbie Weich and his family survived the horrifying accident in which the boat he, son Luca and his wife Renata were travelling on exploded in flames in Brazil in July.

Now he has won a Porsche Cayenne – his dream family car – in a competition.

It has led the 39-year-old to look upon the events of the past few months in a different light.

Mr Weich said: “I think, at the end of the day, I was incredibly lucky in both cases.”

Robbie Weich had to be airlifted back to the UK after the accident.

Mr Weich and his family had been planning to enjoy a river trip from the northern Brazilian city of Belem.

About 30 seconds into the journey there was a “massive explosion”.

The force of the blast threw Mrs Weich and two friends from the back of the boat, while Mr Weich and his cousin remained on the now burning craft.

“Then we realised we were literally on fire,” remembers Mr Weich.

They jumped into the water to put out the flames – but the skin on his forearms was hanging off, and his face and legs were also badly burnt. When he turned his attention back to the vessel, he realised his young son was still on board with a friend, who was holding onto him.

Luca was rescued quickly – but he was also burnt on his forearms.

Once back on land, they were all rushed to the state hospital in Belem, where there weren’t enough beds for all of them in the burns unit.

Mr Weich ended up in a general ward, lying next to people who had been “shot and stabbed”.

Matters were further complicated by an infection Mr Weich and his cousin both picked up from the water.

Mr Weich remains thankful his wife was not badly hurt in the accident, which meant she could stay with St Joseph’s RC Primary School pupil Luca for the week it took for him to recover.

“His burns really healed so well - he has had no scarring,” said Mr Weich, who did not fare as well.

He had to be airlifted back to London for further treatment in the unit at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, but has since made a good recovery.

“We are all home now and recovering well with no lasting damage or permanent scarring.”

Indeed, Mr Weich was well enough to return to the family business - Tradelink Wood Products Ltd, in Queen’s Park - which is where Best of the Best boss William Hindmarch arrived just last week to surprise him with his brand new 4x4.

Mr Hindmarch’s company gives away a dream car every two weeks, running competitions in airports and shopping centres around the country - as well as online. Mr Weich had been entering since 2010, but hadn’t thought he would actually win.

“You think you would run up and down about it, but when it happened to me I was basically in shock,” he said.

Mr Weich has decided to keep the car, rather than sell it - despite Luca’s disappointment at it not being a Ferrari.

“I think after the accident you start to think, I could have died. Life is too short - I am going to enjoy this car now with family and friends.”

And Mr Weich was off back to Brazil this week on business, this time armed with a box of his children’s unwanted toys for the hospital which cared for the family so well in the aftermath of the accident.

“It is one of the first things I will be doing - seeing all the people who helped us through, going and taking this donation down to the hospital.

“The people were just absolutely fantastic. Even at the marina there was a doctor who specialised in burns.”

He added: “The people there have got the same professional level, but the resources and the infrastructure are not the same.”

As for another a trip on a speedboat, Mr Weich is not so sure - but it seems Luca has fewer concerns.

“My son said yes, I would go on a speedboat - but just not the one we went on!”

Back to Homepage 4 Jan 2022