Dehydration causes British student to hallucinate and plunge over cliff on bike

23-year-old recovering in hospital in Dubrovnik after incident at start of three-week cycling holiday

by Simon_MacMichael   August 24, 2011 news

A British student is recovering in hospital after falling 65 feet over a cliff during a cycling holiday in Croatia. Luke Sheppard, aged 23, is believed to have suffered hallucinations due to severe dehydration as temperatures hit 40 degrees Celsius.

Luke, from Seaford, East Sussex, was at the start of a three-week cycling holiday with friends when the incident happened, reports The Sun.

The newspaper adds that a friend named only as Geoffrey noticed he was missing from the group and went back to find him lying stunned in a bush.

Discovering that Luke had swallowed his tongue, Geoffrey enlisted the help of a local shopkeeper to call paramedics. The art student is now recovering in hospital in Dubrovnik, and his father and brother have flown out to be at his bedside.

Luke’s mother Linda told The Sun: "I've been told he hallucinated and blacked out in the heat. When he was taken to hospital he had two seizures and was put on a ventilator. At first it was feared he had brain damage but he's now officially out of a coma and can recognise his dad and brother.

"He's responding to what people say. His speech is slurred but we are very hopeful."

She added: "I can't thank Geoffrey enough. Without him it could have been a very different ending."

4 user comments

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Crikey! Without criticising Luke without the full facts one of the dangers to new cyclists is thinking you can treat hydration on long distances in the heat as just another cycling technique - something you can experiment with. Even those with experience misjudge the conditions. I thought I could do a chain gang last year in just 28C carrying one small bottle as it was the evening. Doh! I was as dry as a pharoah's flipflop and abandoned the group after just 15 miles. In Mallorca last month I carried two bottles, spare tabs and was up, out and back by 11.30am to avoid the heat. Then driving around the island with the family we'd come across large lads in dark jerseys labouring through a Spanish lunchtime of 37C...

I know it's MBO time (Master of the Bleeding Obvious) but I would advise all newcomers to road cycling abroad in the height of summer to: avoid lots of booze the night before; get out very early and get back early (early mornings are always the best time anyway) and drink, drink, and drink some more.

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1145 posts]
24th August 2011 - 9:01


Hope the lad makes a full recovery - just OUCH!

But as MercuryOne points out it's clear that some more info would flesh the story out - from a cursory reading it sounds like a group of lads on hols and 1 of their number wasn't able or prepared to match the others - just glad his mate spotted him missing

Buddha said:

Believe nothing, No matter where you read it,
Or who has said it, Not even if I have said it,
Unless it agrees with your own reason
And your own common sense.

mad_scot_rider's picture

posted by mad_scot_rider [579 posts]
24th August 2011 - 9:29

1 Like

I can see it now. 'Cycling bad for you!' Says your Scorching Soaraway Summer Sun!!! Yawn

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1145 posts]
24th August 2011 - 14:55


Funnily enough, yesterday they had an article from Page 3 Girl (and Cav's other half) Peta Todd saying why she loves bikes:

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [9232 posts]
24th August 2011 - 15:33