The actor is 'lucky to be alive' following the ordeal

Former EastEnders star Paul Nicholls has been left seriously ill in hospital after plunging from a waterfall in Thailand and smashing his leg – and was left there for THREE DAYS before anyone found him.

The actor, 38, had been exploring the Khun Si Falls beauty spot on the island of Koh Samui alone when he fell into a rock pool where he remained trapped without food for 72 hours due to being unable to move because of his injuries.

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It was not until a local villager spotted the abandoned motorcycle he’d used to travel to the site that a search operation was launched and on Monday Paul was found.

He was semiconscious and suffering from hypothermia and had also picked up a bug as well as being in agony from his broken right leg.

When he was discovered Paul was hooked up to a drip and stretchered away from the scene before travelling two hours to the International Koh Samui Hospital.

However he has since been transferred to another hospital after reports that medics tried to charge £13,000 a night to treat the actor.

He’s since managed to speak out about the terrifying ordeal and admits that he’s very grateful to have gotten out alive.

‘I am lucky to be alive,’ Paul tells The Sun. ‘I had a phone with me but I fell from such a height into the water it was unretrievable.

‘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’ve got a broken leg and I’m missing a kneecap. It needs complete reconstruction.’

It’s not known why or how the former soap star fell but there are reports that local sources fear he might have been trying to take a selfie.

Just one month ago American tourist Geoffrey Maui, 28, died after falling from the same location.

Paul had flown out to Thailand a week ago to enjoy some downtime in-between filming commitments.

He’s perhaps best known for his role as troubled Joe Wicks in EastEnders, which he played from 1996 to 1997.

Since then he’s appeared in various TV shows including recent Channel 4 series Ackerly Bridge and also starred in 2004 film Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason.

Here at Now we wish Paul a speedy recovery.