A skydiver who fell 12,000ft feet and smashed into a van after losing control of his parachute has SURVIVED his terrifying ordeal.
Experienced diver and instructor Ben Cornick, 31, attempted the 12,000ft jump from a plane over Fiji on Tuesday, but lost control of the steering toggle on a specialist parachute for advanced divers and crash-landed on a road.
Smashing into a parked van at an estimated speed of 40mph, the veteran of 1,000 skydives miraculously survived the fall, but broke his right thigh bone in three places, snapped his left arm and suffered cuts, bruises and damage to his kneecap.
But the trauma did not end there.
Having been rushed to a Fijian hospital to be treated for his multiple injuries, doctors were unable to pin Ben’s broken bones because they did not have the facilities, and said unless he could raise £20,000 for an emergency flight to New Zealand he faced losing his leg.
Although the young dad was insured through his work, on this occasion he was jumping on his own so the policy did not cover him.
But following a desperate fundraising campaign organised by his cousin, Ricky Davies, the cash was raised in just 16 hours and he arrived at an Auckland hospital on Friday morning.
He underwent successful surgery on Friday night, but his mother Ellie Harrison has told how the last week has been her “worst nightmare”.
She told WalesOnline: “The operation on Sunday night on his legs was a success. He’s had a rod put through his femur and he’s in traction.
“He will have another operation tomorrow morning on his arm, which will be in the middle of the night UK time. It is a bit more complicated for surgeons because he’s also completely shattered his elbow. It’s horrendous, but he’s lucky to be alive.
“It’s a mother’s worst nightmare. I feel awful, and totally useless. I want to get on a plane and be by his side, but the money can go elsewhere.
“Ben is a lovely boy, a diamond. I know I’m biased but no one who comes across him has a bad word to say. I’m so proud of him.
“Our priority is to pay for the operations and get Ben home safely. We have no idea how much it will be – it could be tens of thousands of pounds for his care and travel.
“On the flight home Ben will be in a stretcher and will need a doctor by his side. I’ve spoken to Ben and he says he wants to be home by March 24, which will be his son Alfie’s first birthday.
“That was his plan anyway, and that’s still his goal. But we don’t know what will happen.”
In order to pay for his continuing medical care and fly him home, the family are still appealing for further donations, and said they had been overwhelmed by the response so far.
Ellie added: “I didn’t expect the phenomenal response we’ve had from the sky diving fraternity, family, friends and even people we’ve never met. To raise £20,000 in under 24 hours is incredible.
“I would like to thank every single person who has put their hand in their pocket. People from around the world are helping to take the pressure off us.”
Donations can be made via the Ben Cornick Donation Page on Facebook , which has more than 6,700 members.