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Phones 4u boss John Cauldwell left fighting for his life following crash

The founder of Phones 4u was left fighting for his life after he was involved in a horror crash while on holiday in Italy.

John Caudwell, 68, from Staffordshire, said he needed a number of operations after he broke 11 bones in the freak accident.

The business tycoon was airlifted to hospital in Florence after the front tyre of his bicycle exploded while he was riding down a mountain at 25mph.

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He was then rushed to a hospital, where staff did not speak any English, and received treatment for a punctured lung, broken collarbone, shattered shoulder blade and six broken ribs.

Mr Caudwell told The Sun : “I’m 99 per cent certain that if I hadn’t been wearing a helmet I would have paid with my life.

“The accident came out of nowhere. I was on my first downhill bend of the ride and my front tyre exploded, sending me crashing to the ground.

“I knew I’d done something serious as I couldn’t breathe and I was in agony in my shoulder and rib cage.”

The Phones 4u founder said he was making his way back down a mountain, rounded the first bend when the tyre exploded.

John Caudwell

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Luckily, a passer-by saw and called an ambulance while he “sat on the roadside barely conscious”.

Despite the crash, Mr Caudwell was able to call his partner, Modesta Vzasniauskaite, a road racing cyclist from Lithuania.

He then had to stay in an emergency medical facility for five days, which he said was “agonising.”

He was put on a Covid ward where he was treated by nurses wearing hazmat suits who did not speak English.

He told the Sun: “It was terrifying having these people in hazmat suits appear every few hours and try to move all of my limbs. There was nothing I could do to stop it, even though I knew they shouldn’t do it. We had a battle to move me.”

Mr Caudwell said he was in so much pain he didn’t have the energy to argue, calling his time in hospital “the most horrendous week of my life”.

He has since been transferred to a hospital closer to his home in Monaco.

Describing his recovery as a “long road ahead”, Mr Caudwell said he was grateful to know what is going on around him.

He added: “The hardest bit in a way is not being able to lead my charity bike ride this year because I really love helping others.”

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