British actor Paul Nicholls is recovering in a hospital after being rescued by locals on the Thai island of Kohn Samui, where he was found three days after falling from Khun Si falls

By Dave Quinn Phil Boucher
July 20, 2017 08:00 AM

He spent three days trapped in a rock pool at the base of a jungle waterfall, after a fall that broke both his legs and shattered his knee. So it’s no surprise that actor Paul Nicholls feels “lucky to be alive.”

The 38-year-old British actor — who rose to fame on the BBC soap EastEnders and had a role in Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason — is recovering in a hospital, his rep confirmed to PEOPLE, after being rescued by locals on the Thai island of Kohn Samui.

Nicholls was found in agony at the base of Khun Si falls on July 13, CBS News reported. He was semi-conscious with hypothermia and unable to move.

“I am lucky to be alive,” he told The Sun. “It took such a long time to find me. It’s an understatement to say it wasn’t a great situation. It wasn’t that I was lost. The problem was I couldn’t move to get out of there.”

“I had a phone with me but I fell from such a height into the water it was unretrievable,” he added.

Paul Nicholls
Getty

A search for Nicholls was launched after a sharp-eyed Thai local spotted his abandoned rental motorbike, The Guardian reported. Police then traced the bike to his real name, Gerrard Paul Greenhalgh, and set out to find him — with volunteer rescuers and medics joining the hunt.

Emergency services took two hours to move him to International Koh Samui hospital, The Sun reported.

Nicholls’ agent told the BBC that he was “recovering well” and would be flown back to the UK next week. His kneecap will need complete reconstruction.

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Since finding fame on EastEnders, Nicholls has appeared in a number of projects — including Law and Order UKCasualty, and Ackley Bridge.

His first TV appearance was at age 10 in the long-running television series Children’s Ward.

In June, a 28-year-old American tourist named Geoffrey Maui died after falling at the same waterfall, Thai Visa News reported.

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