Anna Leask

Anna Leask is senior police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Money from web appeal saves injured skydiver's leg

Ben Cornick in action.
Ben Cornick in action.

A skydiver who survived a botched landing in Fiji almost lost his leg because of a lack of medical resources, but thanks to Auckland surgeons he is expected to make a full recovery.

Ben Cornick, originally from Wales, lost control of his parachute during a 12,000ft jump in Fiji last Tuesday. As he crash-landed at speed he hit a parked van, breaking his leg in three places and snapping his arm.

Mr Cornick, who has an 11-month-old son, was taken to Suva Private Hospital where doctors told him his leg had to be pinned back together. But they did not have the resources so he would have to travel to Auckland, a trip that would cost upward of $39,000.

If he was not transferred, he risked losing his leg through infection.

Thanks to a Facebook page set up by his British-based cousin Ricky Davies, word quickly spread and donations started to pour in.

Mr Davies, also a skydiver, told the Daily Mail Mr Cornick's right femur "snapped in three places".

"His left arm between his shoulder and elbow is in half and he has got cuts and bruises and damaged his kneecap. In Fiji, they only have small hospitals. They had a look at him, but couldn't pin and screw that together.

"I got on Facebook and spoke to a few skydivers ... I put up the page where we can all go. His parents haven't got that sort of money, I haven't got that sort of money. Now, we have saved his leg and possibly his life."

The money was raised in hours, and a medical evacuation organised.

Mr Cornick had a four-hour operation on his leg in Auckland on Saturday, and is understood to have had an operation on his arm yesterday.

Several of his friends are also in New Zealand and have been keeping supporters updated on his progress with photos of him in hospital, and of the x-ray of his broken femur.

Mr Cornick is understood to live and work in Nadi as a tandem instructor with Sky Dive Fiji.

- NZ Herald

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