EastEnders star Sid Owen suffered a shattered jaw and has lost several teeth after being hit in the face with a golf ball.
The 48-year-old actor - best known for playing Ricky Butcher in the BBC soap - was on holiday in Thailand when the accident happened five weeks ago and is still unable to fly home having undergone emergency surgery to rebuild his face.
Owen told The Sun: "One minute I'm playing a round and the next I'm in total agony and on my way to hospital. But actually I've almost been lucky because they've told me if it had hit me two inches higher up I'd probably be dead from that sort of impact."
The soap star - who competed in Strictly Come Dancing in 2012 - explained he was struck at close range while playing golf at the Siam Country Club Old Course near Bangkok, when the ball ricocheted off a tree and bounced towards him.
EASTENDER STAR SID OWEN AND PATSY PALMER ATTEND THE PARTY CELEBRATIONS DURING THE 5TH ATHE DISNEY AT PARIS
**EMBARGOED UNTIL 00.01 TUESDAY 1 JULY 1997** Eastenders(L-R) Diane Butcher (Sophie Lawrence) Ricky Butcher (Sid Owen) and Bianca Butcher (Patsy Palmer) take a break from filming in Paris today (Monday) where they are making three episodes of the BBC soap due to be broadcast later this year. Photo by stefan Rousseau/PA
Eastender Patsy Palmer, Sid Owen and Martine McCutcheon arrives for the TV Quick Awards at Grosvenor House in London.
Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett MP poses with Patsy Palmer (Bianca) and Sid Owen (Ricky) from Eastenders at the set of the soap's Queen Vic pub in Elstree, to announce that schools will be given a 1000 book token to celebrate the launch of the National Year of Reading. EDI Picture by Ben Curtis/PA.
EastEnders actors Sid Owen (Ricky Butcher) and Patsy Palmer (Bianca Butcher) arriving at the British Academy Television Awards at Grosvenor House in London.
EastEnders actors Sid Owen and Patsy Palmer arriving at the British Academy Television Awards at Grosvenor House in London.
Eastenders actor Sid Owen, who plays Ricky Butcher, celebrates during a celebrity football match at Hackney Marshes.
Sid Owen and Patsy Palmer attend the UK film premiere of Wild Wild West, at the Odeon West End Cinema, Leicester Square, London.
Actors Sid Owen, who plays Ricky Butcher (centre) and Dean Gaffney, who plays Robbie Jackson (right), in the TV soap Eastenders, arrive at the Odeon West End, Leicester Square for the premiere of the film, Final Cut.
Former Eastender's actress Patsy Palmer, with her soap husband Sid Owen arriving for a charity dinner hosted by fashion designer Tomasz Starzewski in aid of cancer charities, at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park Hotel, in London.
Current and former Eastenders cast members Sid Owen (left), Patsy Palmer, Martin Kemp with the soap's producer Matthew Robinson at the British Academy Television awards (BAFTA's) in London where they recieved the award for best soap.
TV presenter Helen Chamberlain and former EastEnders actor Sid Owen at the launch of the Fitness Industry Association's (FIA) summer fitness event 'Commit to Get Fit' in London, which will operate at more than 600 fitness centres in the UK throughout July. * ...the event encourages participants to set themselves a personal fitness challenge to raise money for the NSPCC's FULL STOP Campaign with all funds raised in Scotland going to CHILDREN 1st.
Former Eastenders stars Sid Owen (Ricky) and Patsy Palmer (Bianca) are all smiles on their first day back filming in Manchester, for the London based soap opera after both had left the show to pursue other interests.
Former Eastenders actor Sid Owen ,left, who played Rickey Butcher and James Alexandrou, who plays Martin Fowler, arrive at the British Soap awards 2000 at the BBC TV studios.
Actor Sid "The Snake" Owen and TV presenter Ben "The Bear" Fogle pose for photographers in their boxing gloves outside The Sports Cafe in London's Haymarket. The pair of celebrities are taking part in this year's Sport Relief Boxing match on July the 10th, as part of Sport Relief Saturday.
Sid Owen and Sheree Murphy attending the The 2006 TV Quick and TV Choice Awards, Dorchester Hotel, London.
Sid Owen and Patsy Palmer arrive for the British Academy Television Awards at the London Palladium, W1.
Sid Owen arrives at the funeral of Mike Reid, held at the Little Easton Parish Church in Essex.
Sid Owen Steve McFadden and Barbara Windsor go to collect an award at the 2008 National Television Awards at the Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, SW7.
Sid Owen arrives at the Invictus Premiere at the Odeon, Leicester Square, London
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 17: Sid Owen arrives for the European premiere of 'Eddie The Eagle' at Odeon Leicester Square on March 17, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
CHELMSFORD, ENGLAND - AUGUST 16: Sid Owen (L) and Alan Carr attend the Mahiki Rum Bar for the launch of the Mahiki Rum Family backstage during day 1 of the V Festival 2014 at Hylands Park on August 16, 2014 in Chelmsford, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images for Mahiki Rum)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 06: Jo Wood and Sid Owen attend the VIP performance of "Kooza" by Cirque Du Soleil at Royal Albert Hall on January 6, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Azzi Glasser and Sid Owen attend the launch of The Mandrake's 2019 Artist In Residence programme hosted by Azzi Glasser & Alan Carr at YOPO in The Mandrake Hotel on February 12, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
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Owen said: "Of course it hurt like hell, but it was the shock factor too. I remember seeing two teeth fly straight out of my mouth but it turned out to be a fracture in my face and a broken jaw, along with another tooth embedded into my jaw."
The actor has so far undergone 15 hours of reconstructive surgery to repair the damage including a bone craft and dental implants. He is also awaiting the results of a brain scan and is unable to eat solid food.
The accident happened on January 17th and Owen has been stranded in Thailand since, as doctors have said he is not fit to fly. The actor revealed his visa has now expired and he has only been given a one week extension.
Owen, who appeared on Channel 4's The Jump in 2016 said: "I'm still waiting on some brain scan results but the thought of there being a problem on something like that doesn't even bear thinking about... I don't really know anyone out here now, so I'm stuck totally on my own. It's depressing, especially when you can't sleep because of the pain."
The EastEnders star - who played Ricky Butcher from 1988 to 2012 - said he had been on a detox holiday in Thailand as he had practised sober January for 20 years. He also revealed he is struggling to cover the costs of the surgery and extended accommodation and his insurance company is delayed in dealing with his claim due to the coronavirus outbreak
There had been rumours that he is set to return to Albert Square after Patsy Palmer, who plays Ricky's partner Bianca, was recently recast in the soap.
Owen said: "I can't really disclose anything at the moment, but I have had to turn stuff down and some auditions due to it so it is really costing me."