An engineering graduate has been left paralysed for life after a freak accident while paddle boarding on holiday.
Michael Wells, 28, instantly broke his neck after diving off a board and hitting the sea bed headfirst while away in Hungary with family last month.
His twin brother, David, dragged him to the surface after spotting him floating face down in the sea, reports the Daily Record.
Medics told his family that he was paralysed from the neck down, and won’t regain movement in his arms or legs.
Michael, from West Linton, Scotland, recalled to his relatives: “I heard and felt my neck break when my head hit the bottom.
“I couldn’t move my arms or my legs. I knew I was paralysed and I thought I was going to drown. Somehow, I just told myself to hold my breath.”
Michael’s dad gave him mouth-to-mouth on the beach in a desperate attempt to save his life, while his mum Christina – an NHS nurse – and sister Seòna carried out chest compressions.
He was then airlifted to hospital and sedated at an ICU unit.
Seòna said: “It was so traumatic for us all – watching this happen to Michael. It has been hard to process.
“It was a freak accident, he’s been very unlucky. We all felt we were living someone else’s life for a few weeks.
“We could see he was terrified he was going to die. He mouthed at one point to us, ‘I don’t want to slip away’.
“We were only allowed to visit for an hour at a time at first. There were no English-speaking nurses, it was really terrifying for him.”
Michael’s family paid for his emergency repatriation to Scotland on September 16, where he remains at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.
A fundraiser has now been set up to help support Michael, who will require around the clock care from his parents, who had recently retired from the NHS.
Seòna said: “Life was all just coming together for him.
“He had been waiting to work in engineering for a while and he got the job he wanted, in the company he wanted, but our amazing, adventurous brother’s life changed forever in an instant.
“No longer able to climb, swim and explore. No longer able to do the things he loved. And my parents will now dedicate the rest of their lives caring for Michael.
“Despite his paralysis I’m amazed at Michael’s spirit. He is thankful he is alive and wants to go on.
“As tragic as his injury is, we very nearly lost him which would have been unbearable. We’re incredibly lucky my parents were there.
“He still has a long slow road ahead of him, but we will be with him for every part of his journey.”