Relief as boy recovers from serious Jetty fall

BIG THANKS: NSW Ambulance Coffs Harbour Inspector Andrew Chapman with Ely, 11, his mother Leerah and father Matt Benson.
BIG THANKS: NSW Ambulance Coffs Harbour Inspector Andrew Chapman with Ely, 11, his mother Leerah and father Matt Benson. Trevor Veale

AFTER a distressing 48 hours, Ely Benson woke from an induced coma after a serious fall with one request.

Suffering multiple fractures, a broken shoulder, torn spleen and collapsed lung, Ely awoke at John Hunter Hospital with no concern for himself - instead asking if his older brother Myles was all right.

"That love that they have for each other is a powerful thing. The relationships between brothers in a difficult time is a beautiful thing to see," Ely's father Matt Benson said.

More than a fortnight ago, 11-year-old Ely fell 5m from the Coffs Harbour Jetty close to shore, landing in just 15cm of water.

Without hesitation and acting on a mother's instinct, Leerah Benson jumped over the railing to reach her boy, suffering injuries herself, including a broken nose.

Fortunately, a doctor was on the beach and rendered assistance before paramedics quickly arrived on scene to assist Ely, who was rushed to Coffs Harbour hospital before being airlifted to Newcastle.

Ely and his parents yesterday reunited with NSW Ambulance Coffs Harbour Inspector Andrew Chapman, who was supervising on the day, to say thank you and let him know how Ely's recovery was progressing.

Leerah said everyone along the way was amazing and they were so happy with the care provided by hospital staff, social workers, ambulance paramedics and all the love and support from the community.

"Ely's just getting his strength back and happy that he's going to continue his great life," she said.

"We don't often get to see how people are once they recover," Insp Chapman said.

"You wouldn't believe it was the same kid."

On the day, Ely's father Matt was at Sapphire with older brother Myles when he received the phone call.

"Words can't describe the emotion of that call," he said.

When they arrived at the scene, Myles was deeply distressed to see his little brother unconscious on the beach, which is why his parents believe Ely's first thoughts were on his older brother.

Ely was stretchered off the beach and placed in an induced coma at Coffs Harbour Base Hospital before he and Leerah were airlifted to Newcastle's John Hunter Hospital.

"After Ely was flown to Newcastle, doctors were preparing us for the reality Ely may have suffered spinal damage and even nerve damage in his brain."

Now back in Coffs Harbour and facing six to eight weeks of recovery and rehabilitation, Ely and his family wanted to say thanks to the paramedics and public who were there on the day to help.

"It has been really full on but with Ely back here in Coffs Harbour we just wanted to say thank you to the many people who helped him," Matt said.

"I'm sure the people who saw the incident unfold on the beach that day want news that he is on the mend and luckily has avoided serious injury."

Topics:  coffs harbour jetty editors picks nsw ambulance service

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