A horrific cliff plunge resulting in a shattered leg and a helicopter crash in the Grand Canyon, US, have been voted among the worst travel experiences.
The misadventures are among the finalists in US travel insurance company Travel Guard’s “World’s unluckiest traveller” competition.
The website has received more than 800 submissions with tales of boat trips from hell, getting lost in a cave, sickening airport food and a stressful honeymoon making the cut.
In one of the most horrific incidents, traveller Gary told how he went to urinate at the edge of a cliff in Saigon on the third day of his month-long trip and ended up falling off it – marking just the beginning of his nightmare holiday.
“I stopped on a remote mountain road to photograph a beautiful valley below,” Gary said.
“Taking advantage of the solitude, I stepped to the cliff’s edge to relieve myself.
“Suddenly the seemingly-solid edge disintegrated, and I fell straight down, screaming in terror.”
Gary was lucky to be caught by a cliff ledge instead of hurtling to his death, however that’s where his “luck” ended.
The marathon rescue effort that followed involved 10 men plucking him from the ledge, a 14-hour “excruciatingly painful” ambulance ride and an airlift to a Bangkok airport.
But the drama didn’t end there – after 10 screws and a metal plate were fixed to his shattered leg Gary discovered that his ankle was still not attached straight. Undergoing a second operation then led to a life-threatening infection which took three weeks to pass.
Gary isn’t the only one who has suffered for his travels. A tourist told of how she and her cousin ended up with a fractured neck and skull respectively after their heads were smashed together when a drunk driver collided with their vehicle.
Another entrant told how he had planned a complex trip to meet up with family members spread across the globe only to be told upon arrival at the airport that all flights from the US had been cancelled. The reason: The September 11 attacks.
Meanwhile holidaymaker Robert told how he had the scariest ride of his life after the helicopter he was travelling in crashed while flying over the Grand Canyon. Lucky to escape unhurt, Robert has vowed never to fly again.
Other tales of misadventure that didn’t make the finalist list included a woman who discovered live snakes in her pottery after it was missed by airport security and a traveller whose purse was stolen by a baboon in Kenya.
The winner, set to be announced on January 1, will receive a $10,000 holiday.