A Kiwi man in a coma in Australia after a water-sports outing went horribly wrong has regained consciousness and said his first words.
Brendon Demmocks was biscuiting with friends last weekend on Victoria's Murray River when the biscuit drifted outside the wake and he went head-first into a tree.
The 31-year-old was riding with three friends when one yelled out they were heading for trouble. His friends who were on either side of him managed to get off, but Demmocks was flung towards the tree.
Demmocks suffered multiple skull fractures and brain bleeds, as well as fracturing his neck and T5 vertebrae, and is being treated at Melbourne Hospital, where he was placed in an induced coma.
His sister Samantha Venis said her brother, who is one of four siblings, moved to Melbourne only five months ago and was working as a diesel mechanic. He is originally from Amberley in Canterbury.
Venis said the family was delighted when he woke up today and started speaking.
"Today has been an amazing day," she said. "Brendon had the breathing tubes taken out and the first word he said was Mum!
"He is still a bit confused but is getting stronger every day and with yesterday being a massive turning point.
"He will require lots of physio and rehab and it will be a few more months before we can get him home but things are definitely looking up especially with his sense of humour and cheeky chin still in tact.
"Thank you to everyone who has helped us out, we are so grateful for your love and support."
A Givealittle page has been set up to pay for travel costs for his family, who are at his bedside, and to pay for the costs of airlifting Demmocks from the crash site to hospital.
To donate visit Help Brendon and his Family.