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.”