NATASHA Kaplinsky bravely returned to the spot where a “biblical” boat explosion nearly killed her family and left her daughter with facial burns.
Natasha, her daughter Angelica, who was eight at the time and her father Raphael were thrown into the water and badly burned during the holiday in Corfu last year.
Natasha Kaplinsky returns to Corfu after boat explosion left daughter scarred[/caption]
Her husband Justin, 47, her mum Catherine and her son Arlo, 10, parents escaped the fire but the family were all forced to wait in the water for 45 minutes to be rescued.
Natasha cried for months following the accident after she saw her daughter’s face “blown off”, and a year on, she’s revealed that advice from famous friends convinced her the family needed closure.
She said: “Marking the anniversary, in a positive way, was advice I was given by Claudia Winkleman because her daughter suffered burns as well. They do something positive on every anniversary and I thought that was a very good way at looking at what had happened to us.
“We went back to the spot where it happened on a different boat, which we hired. Brave? Maybe. But I just thought that it was important for us, as a family, to conquer that fear and complete the journey that we didn’t complete and that went so wrong on that first day. I wanted us to move on from it.”
She added to the Mirror: “The fact that Angelica was able to get back on a boat, I was just so extraordinarily proud of her. It was a very emotional day, even talking about it now I can feel my voice cracking, because it was a huge thing in our lives.”
Natasha and her family were airlifted back to the UK after the terrifying ordeal last year and were treated at a world renowned burns unit in East Grinstead, near their home.
Natasha was traumatised for months, telling The Times after the incident: “I was on a burning boat with everybody I loved, my parents, my husband, my children.”
“I couldn’t leave that memory. It wouldn’t leave me.”
The Plumbago Go boat exploded into a “fireball” after a leak in the fuel pipe while they were three miles offshore.
Angelica bore the brunt of the blast and journalist Natasha said she could not bear to see her daughter suffering in agony as her scars slowly healed. “I was incapacitated by tears. I just couldn’t get a grip,” she said.
Revealing what happened, she previously told Loose Women: “Something terrible went wrong on the boat after about 15 minutes. It was long enough for us to be very far away from anywhere.
Natasha Kaplinsky fought back tears as she recounted the moment a boat exploded leaving her daughter with severe facial burns[/caption]
“There was a leak in the fuel pipe and the boat stuttered and stopped. We were really miles away from anywhere. My husband made a phone call and got some advice about what to do and was advised to tun the key to see what was happening with the pressure. It was like a James Bond moment. The whole boat just blew.”
Natasha admitted her thoughts flashed ahead to her daughter on her wedding day as they waited for help in the water.
The recovery process was a long one, with the star undergoing EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) treatment.
She said: “That was in a moment of desperation for me because I just couldn’t stop crying. I felt I needed to be there for my kids and obviously I wanted to help my parents but there was so much to worry about. It was difficult to focus on something. For me, I just knew I needed to stop crying.
“EMDR is used a lot for extreme trauma and for war veterans as well. For me, it was a very helpful process where I was holding onto these buzzers. It helped to move the trauma away from the immediacy of what was happening in front of me, where we were on a burning boat… to a bit further away in my mind.”
Angelica is currently going through the same treatment.
And initially, she wouldn’t allow her daughter to look in the mirror.
She said: “We took all the mirrors off the walls in the house and for three months we had a race to see who could grow their eyelashes back the fastest.”
The group were rescued by fishermen who helped to put out the flames and towed them to shore.
A source said at the time: “At first the girl was rushed to hospital in Corfu Town with burns to her face and hands.
“Her mother and grandfather were treated at a private clinic. It was then decided to fly them home.”
It is thought the damage to the boat was only superficial despite the blast.
The source added: “The explosion caused about £350 worth of damage.
“They had obviously not been taking care of the boat as a service should have prevented the problems. A petrol leak caused the engine to break down and triggered the blast.”
The stricken boat was towed to Kouloura harbour after blast[/caption]
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Natasha owns a five-bed mansion on the island called Plumbago — like the boat.
Corfu Port Authority confirmed: “Three people were injured after a fire on a boat.
“The vessel suffered a mechanical failure which caused a fire in the engine room, which was immediately extinguished by the people on the boat.”
Natasha and husband Justin Bower, 45[/caption]
Natasha won the first series of Strictly in 2004. In 2007 Channel 5 made her Britain’s highest-paid newsreader by luring her from the BBC in a £1million-a-year deal.
Months later she fell pregnant with Arlo. She turned down a £500,000 magazine deal to sell images of the boy, instead distributing them for free.
In 2012 she told how she keeps her children grounded by telling them about a South African boy with HIV she met on a Save the Children trip.
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