Henry Kocatekin was rushed to hospital late last week. Picture: Facebook
Henry Kocatekin was rushed to hospital late last week. Picture: Facebook

Teen fighting for life after setting himself on fire

A TEENAGE boy from the NSW town of Wollongong is fighting for life in a Portuguese hospital after he doused his body in petrol and then set himself on fire.

According to local media reports Henry Kocatekin, 18, suffered burns to about 90 per cent of his body late last week when he walked into a Galp petrol station in Lisbon and paid the worker 10 euros for fuel just after 6pm Thursday.

After paying the service station worker, he walked back outside and showered himself in petrol.

News.com.au understands Henry's mother Kate has made her way to Portugal to be at the bedside of her 18-year-old son.

The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed they were assisting an Australian man in Portugal.

"The Department is providing consular assistance to an Australian man in Portugal and his family. For privacy reasons we are unable to provide further details," they said.

 

Kate Kocatekin with her son Henry. Picture: Facebook
Kate Kocatekin with her son Henry. Picture: Facebook

Portuguese news site Jornal reported Henry was first taken to Hospital Santa Maria in Lisbon before being transferred on Friday to Hospital São João in Porto.

Henry also put his name forward for school captain in 2016, with his speech being shared on Facebook.

"It's not about the title nor the badge, it's about doing what is needed in the best way possible," he said.

"I hold the belief that we do well in environments where we enjoy ourselves. Let 2016/17 be that year - Where this school has opportunities that no others have and where we, as students, make the most of them."

The Kocatekin family is well known in the Illawarra community.

Henry's younger sister Alice died in June 2012 from mitochondrial disease, a chronic and degenerative illness that causes a person's cells to die.

Before Alice died, she and Henry ran the City2Surf three years in a row and backpacked around Asia.

''It doesn't equate to the pain, but it's good that we have those memories and we can laugh about things,'' a then 13-year-old Henry told The Illawarra Mercury.

In 2012, the Wollongong community held a fundraising event called Afternoon for Alice and Henry raised thousands for mitochondrial disease through a theatre sports night.

Ms Kocatekin also sparked a debate online last year when she said Smith's Hill High School - where Henry attended and the only selective high school in Wollongong - should have done better in the HSC.

Ms Kocatekin also lashed the early entry program offered by the University of Wollongong, which she claimed was giving kids license to slack off before their exams.

"The program of UOW is not conditional on ATAR results; students receive verification of their success prior to the HSC commencing, resulting in many 'dropping the ball', not performing in the exams and subsequently, due to moderation and scaling, negatively affecting their cohort, especially in smaller classes," she said.

 

If you or anyone you know needs help, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Henry Kocatevic was travelling around Europe.
Henry Kocatevic was travelling around Europe.

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