News State Western Australia News Bali punch victim’s family asks for privacy

Bali punch victim’s family asks for privacy

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A big-hearted Australian who taught orphans to surf remains in a coma after being punched in Bali while trying to help a woman in danger.

Matt Scarff, 41, suffered major head injuries when punched by a stranger outside the Townhouse Club in Seminyak on November 15 after he went to a woman’s aid.

Mr Scarff runs a Bali surf school and, says his best mate Dougal Pennefeather, was known as someone who helped others.

“He’s been one of my best friends for 20 years and he’s always there for you,” he said.

Mr Scarff has had brain surgery to relieve a clot and pressure on his brain from the injury and is being treated at Royal Perth Hospital where he remains in an induced coma.

Mr Pennefeather said his friend was not an aggressive person.

“He was obviously just at the wrong spot,” he told AAP on Thursday.

Mr Pennefeather said Mr Scarff gave surfing lessons mainly to Southeast Asians, including orphans, and took groups to Java, as well as surf camps up the coast.

A Facebook page had been set up to raise money for Mr Scarff’s travel expenses to return him to Australia because he did not have insurance.

About $45,000 was needed to get CareFlight to transport him to Australia and extra money raised will be used to cover his rehabilitation costs.

Organisers of the Facebook group posted late on Wednesday: “His family is overwhelmed with the love, support and concern shown from everyone. The doctors and medical staff at Sanglah Hospital in Bali have been amazing and we cannot thank them enough.”

The family asked on Thursday that the media respected their privacy while Mr Scarff was in hospital in Perth.

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) spokesman said such incidents served as a reminder of the potential hazards Australians could face overseas.

“It is important for Australians travelling or living overseas to ensure they have appropriate insurance coverage,” he said.

Meanwhile, a social media campaign is aimed at finding the man who hit Mr Scarff.

A photograph and a name of a man have been circulating on Instagram and Facebook.