Czech 'supermodel' Nemcova agrees to charity photograph from hospital bed in Thailand

04-01-2005

Staked out by paparazzi, the Czech supermodel Petra Nemcova, who was seriously injured when deadly tsunamis struck southeast Asia last month — and whose boyfriend is among those still missing — has agreed to be photographed from her hospital bed in Thailand to raise money for a children's charity.

Petra Nemcova was relaxing on the beaches of the Thai island of Phuket when the deadly tsunami struck. She survived by clinging to a palm tree for eight hours until the water subsided, but suffered a broken pelvis and internal injuries and was in a state of shock, having witnessed her boyfriend being swept out to sea.

A top model who graced the cover of "Sports Illustrated" magazine's 2003 swimsuit issue, Nemcova was eventually rescued and airlifted from the Thai resort town to a hospital some 150 miles to the southeast.

She reportedly has refused to be transferred to a private hospital back home until she receives confirmation of the fate of her boyfriend, the British fashion photographer Simon Atlee, who is among the tens of thousands still missing and presumed dead.

Meanwhile, the paparazzi — photographers who specialise in taking pictures of celebrities caught off guard, often in compromising situations — began staking out Nemcova's hospital ward within days of her admission. The first photo of the Czech supermodel was expected to fetch as much as $200,000.

Approached by editors from the celebrity-obsessed tabloid "US Weekly," Nemcova has now agreed to pose for exclusive pictures — from her hospital bed — in order to raise money for a children's charity.

The United Nations has estimated that at least a third of the 150,000 victims of the Asian tsunami were children, with tens of thousands more orphaned or searching for missing parents. The American magazine will donate proceeds from the sale of the Nemcova photos in the U.S. to the international charity Save the Children.

To date, only one Czech national has been confirmed dead but over 20 remain unaccounted for and seven are presumed dead, including at least one child. Along with the model Petra Nemcova, two other Czechs, one of them a nine-year-old girl, were still being treated in Thai hospitals early this week. The girl was due to be flown home on Tuesday.

04-01-2005