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Stonehouse daredevil takes rescue flight to New Zealand after fall from 12,000 feet

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 19, 2014

  • Ben Cornick skydiving

Comments (6)

Skydive instructor Ben Cornick faced a race against time to be flown for emergency treatment after crash landing into a parked van in Fiji.

The Stonehouse daredevil had led a charmed life up until his equipment failed on a ‘pleasure’ jump from 12,000 feet on Tuesday.

Although his parachute opened, his toggle broke leaving him unable to steer towards a safe landing area.

Ben, 31, broke his leg in three places and shattered his elbow in the fall.

With limited facilities at Suva hospital, doctors were forced to fly him to New Zealand - or run the risk of a tropical infection and a possible amputation.

As Ben had no insurance, the call was made to his family to stump up the £20,000 needed to cover the cost of the flight. A further £30,000 could yet be need to cover the cost of his treatment and return flight to England.

Ben’s dad Stuart, and step mum Suzann Lord pulled together their life savings, and considered selling their home to stump up the rest.

“We were in total disbelief,” Suzann said.

“Ben is a daredevil but this is the first serious accident he has had.

“It was a relief to get the call from him rather than anybody else. He told us what had happened and that he was in a lot of pain. I had another call mid morning from the girl who was with him at the time and told us he had been taken to Suva hospital. She said there was no way they could deal with his injuries there and that we would have to get him to Auckland as soon as possible.

“Ben is insured through work, but as this jump was for fun, he wasn’t covered. It was very stressful for us.”

The plane refused to take off until the £20,000 had been transferred. When the skydiving community heard of Ben’s plight, donations poured in to a Facebook page appealing for help set up by his cousin, Ricki Davies.

Another friend of Ben’s offered to immediately wire the cash and later repaid by the family.

Suzann added: “Ben has worked all over the world and has a lot of friends. There has been a tremendous amount of people who don’t know Ben, but had donated money. It is amazing, absolutely phenomenal. It is hard to put into words how grateful we are.”

Ben arrived at Auckland hospital on Friday evening and had an operation to insert a rod into his leg. He is now recovering and is likely to remain in hospital for at least three weeks.

His friends and family hope the dramatic event so last week will serve as a warning to others to check their level of insurance cover before signing up to extreme holiday sports.

On Facebook, Craig Surry said: “I don't know Ben but any friend of Michael Wilson-Roberts is alright by me and welcome to marry my sister any day. £10 sent, it's just a couple of beers to me but every little helps.”

Yuri Hamilton said: “Wired some money, hopefully not for more medical attention, but for celebrations of what that this awesome community has managed to achieve. It's mind boggling how much people have donated to help a fellow skydiver, heal fast Ben.”

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  • RoadWombat  |  January 20 2014, 5:33AM

    Wombats can't skydive. Paws can't operate the ripcord very well.

    |   1
  • GlosAnarchy  |  January 19 2014, 7:55PM

    ipaytax - This is the dog's b's £250 excess of parachuting / skydiving it appears to cover unlimited jumps! £84.26 is the minimum (no £5000 bagage etc, doesn't include golf, that's extra)

    |   -2
  • RoadWombat  |  January 19 2014, 4:36PM

    I've no problem with people skydiving but it needs to be tempered with a little forward planning. Skycover offer annual multi Jump insurance including medical & liability (Worldwide) for only £150 a year. But, of course, this muppet is too 'rad' and 'cool' to bother with such mundane matters and expects his family to bail him out at 300-odd times the cost.

    |   5
  • QuiltingQueen  |  January 19 2014, 2:06PM

    Irresponsible to not have personal insurance when participating in this sort of thing.

  • Ipaytax  |  January 19 2014, 11:55AM

    Probably wouldn't cover free-fall parachuting. Some don't even cover tourist type where you strap on to and experienced parachuter.

    |   -2
  • GlosAnarchy  |  January 19 2014, 11:04AM

    £93.62 for a years cover from More Than..........................

    |   -2