By Mitchell Clarke
A Pakenham Upper couple are in the fight of their life in an Austrian hospital after they were involved in a tragic accident while on a dream holiday through Europe.
Lorna and Richard Hogg were involved in a serious motorbike accident in Northern Italy on Wednesday 25 September.
While the exact circumstances surrounding the incident are largely unclear, it’s believed they were riding around a bend with a motorcycle tour group when a tractor towing a cattle trailer overturned and landed on the couple. Other reports recently surfaced suggest they may have been crushed between the trailer and a cliff.
Lorna and Richard’s legs and pelvis were crushed and both received broken ribs and ruptured spleens. As a result, Lorna’s leg was amputated while Richard suffered a ruptured aorta.
Their two sons, Steve and Paul, and other family members have flown to their bedside.
“Mum and Dad have been involved in an extremely bad accident in northern Italy and have had to be airlifted to the closest hospital,” Paul said.
“They both had emergency surgery which went well and needed to be put into induced comas.”
In a Facebook update, Paul confirmed Lorna had no spinal cord or neurological damage while Richard had suffered a stroke, with the extent of damage still unknown.
It’s believed the couple have only just started breathing on their own and with a number of surgeries to go, the family is expected to be in Austria for up to six months.
Back home, the Gazette spoke with the couple’s nephew, Riley Cox, who said the future remains completely unknown.
“The fact they’re both alive is a miracle in itself, we thought it was bad straight away,” Mr Cox said.
“It’s going to be a very slow process and it’s all a bit unknown at the moment but it’s important we’re there for them.
“They care for everyone all the time, they’re such positive people but their life is never going to be the same after this.”
The healthy couple were seasoned travellers enjoying a three month trip around Europe to celebrate their recent retirement.
62-year-old Lorna, who previously battled breast cancer and won, recently retired from her position as a nurse at Millhaven Lodge. 65-year-old Richard was a linesman for an electrical contractor who was also involved with the CFA.
The news of their accident has rattled their loved ones, with neighbour Marilyn Rastall describing the couple as “absolutely wonderful people”.
“It couldn’t have happened to two nicer people, they’d do absolutely anything for anyone,” she said.
“This trip was supposed to be a celebration of their retirement and I just remember they were looking so forward to it.
“It’s just absolutely tragic this has occurred.”
A GoFundMe has been set up by Riley to raise vital funds in assisting the family at this devastating time. If you would like to contribute, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/lorna-amp-richard039s-fight-for-life.