The family of an east Antrim man injured during an incident in Switzerland has praised the public for their support.
David Heron (36) is currently in the Solothurn Hospital in Switzerland after suffering serious injuries during a fall in Zurich.
The electrician from the Cairn Road area of Carrickfergus, who was working on the continent at the time of the incident, had been attending a music event in the city on August 11, when he fell approximately 20ft onto a concrete path.
David sustained brain trauma, a punctured lung and fractures to his skull, spine, shoulder, collar bone and ribs.
The former Ballyclare Secondary School pupil has undergone surgery on his brain and spine and is making progress.
Medical professionals have advised his family that his recovery would be improved if he received treatment in Northern Ireland.
Speaking to the News Letter, his brother Mark said: “David had been enjoying an electric dance music parade when he fell back from a wall that he was sitting on. He landed on a concrete towpath around 20ft below. Luckily there was a medical boat on the river beside him and he was tended to very quickly.
“With David working away form home, a number of days could pass before we heard from him. We didn’t find out about the incident until the Tuesday after. His boss phoned me and explained that David had been in an accident.
“My mum and me travelled to Switzerland the next day. When we got there, David was in a coma. However, while we were sitting with him, his eyes opened and this was very encouraging.”
Mark added: “I spent a number of days with David in Switzerland. The medical team and local police there have gone above and beyond to help him and we are all very grateful.
“He is making progress and is starting to talk and take steps. I phone him every day and it is encouraging to hear him. He can remember some things, but is still very confused.
“David is receiving the very best of care, but he needs brain rehabilitation and the language barrier there is a barrier to his recovery. The doctors have offered a place at a facility in Basel, but say that he will do much better with his own language and surroundings. We are now making the effort to bring him home.”
Mark has contacted a number of agencies and charities and has been told that due to the complexity of David’s injuries, he would not be able to travel home on a commercial flight.
He explained: “Due to his brain injury, we’ve been told that a commercial flight would not be suitable. We would need an air ambulance, with costs reaching over £20,000.
“Since news of his ordeal has been made public, members of the local community and total strangers have made donations to help try and bring him home. As a family we are overwhelmed with this generosity. He will still need one-to-one care when he gets home, although I’m not sure if this would be at Musgrave or another hospital in Belfast.
“As soon as we hit our target, we’ll put the wheels in motion and get him home as soon as we can.”
An online fundraisng page has been set up to raise money to bring him home to Northern Ireland. If you would like to make a donation, go to https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/david-heron-home-to-belfast?utm_id=106&utm_term=8pGwZE6DK