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Gerard O’Sullivan survived a 60 foot fall in Myrtle Beach Photo by: Family's own

Miracle as Limerick student survives 60 foot fall in Myrtle Beach during J-1 trip

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Gerard O’Sullivan survived a 60 foot fall in Myrtle Beach Photo by: Family's own

A Limerick man who survived a 60 foot fall in Myrtle Beach will undergo his tenth surgery this week.

The Waterford Institute of Technology student Gerard O’Sullivan sustained serious injuries on Friday July 13th as a result of a work accident. He suffered the extensive injuries when he fell 60 foot from a zipline tower in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

According to the Limerick Leader, the accident occurred at Myrtle Beach Adrenaline Adventures, where the 23-year-old was working.

The young man had travelled to the US for the summer, along with over 30 friends, for a J-1 adventure. He worked as a guide, securing harnesses on customers before directing them to the zipline.

“Ger had secured a child into their harness when he stepped back and fell 60 feet to the ground. Ger was rushed to hospital where he underwent the first of many surgeries,” his sister Niamh told the newspaper.

Following the accident, Myrtle Beach Adrenaline Adventures released the following statement to WMBF News on July 15th:

"Myrtle Beach Adrenaline Adventures worker Gerald O' Sullivan who was injured on Friday is now in stable condition and recovering at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center. O'Sullivan was injured as result of what appears to be an employee error related accident. The ride was shut down and underwent a full safety inspection at the time of the accident. MBAA continues to share thoughts and prayers for Gerard's speedy recovery and has arranged for Gerard's parents to join him here in Myrtle Beach on Tuesday."

The student broke his pelvis, elbow, ribs, legs, and suffered compound breaks to his ankles. Both his heart and kidneys stopped working and his lungs collapsed as a result of the trauma. He was put in an induced coma at Grand Strand Medical Centre in Myrtle Beach, while his parents, Maureen and William, from Castleconnell in Limerick, flew to be by his side after the incident in July.

The youngest of nine children, this is the second tragedy to strike to the O’Sullivan family. Ger lost his twin brother Stephen in 2009.

In the first few days after the accident, the young man's friends also rallied around him like “guardian angels”.

“They never left his side from the moment he was rushed to hospital. Sleeping on floors, in waiting rooms, getting updates from the doctors, keeping us updated and taking on the role of parents until our parents arrived in the US,” said Niamh.

After the accident, O’Sullivan spent five weeks in an induced coma in ICU at Grand Strand Medical Centre in Myrtle Beach.

At the end of August he was moved out of intensive care and is now undergoing intense rehabilitation physiotherapy and occupational therapy in a North Carolina hospital.

Doctors in the US predict the young man has a long recovery ahead and expect him to remain in  hospital until December.

This week he will have his tenth operation to set one of his broken legs.

If you would to help The Ger O’Sullivan Benefit Fund email marielizwalsh@eircom.net or donate to Bank of Ireland, 125 O’Connell Street, sort Code: 90-43-09 ; account number: 14909960.

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