American tourist, 29, is left with horror injuries after the rope SNAPPED as she parasailed in Mexico on her birthday, leaving her stuck in the air for nearly AN HOUR before she plummeted hundreds of feet into an airport
- Katie Malone’s 10-minute parasailing ride turned into 45 minutes of horror
- Cell phone video captured her parasail being blown across sky before falling
- Fractured her pelvis, skull, ribs, and she suffered a broken jaw and cheek as well
- Katie also suffered major head trauma and needed to be flown back to the US
- A California congressman stepped in to fund the air ambulance to San Diego
A San Diego woman’s 29th birthday celebration in Mexico turned into a nightmare when she was injured in a parasailing accident.
What was supposed to be a 10-minute parasailing ride in Puerto Vallarta took a horrific turn when a cord attaching Katie Malone to the boat suddenly snapped.
She was stuck in the air for 45 minutes during a storm, with cell phone video capturing her parasail being blown across the sky before it fell hundreds of feet.
Katie’s father said her last thoughts before she passed out were: ‘Please don’t let me die, please don’t let me be paralyzed’. Then she crashed into an airport.
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Katie Malone was celebrating her 29th birthday in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico when she got in a horrific parasailing accident that left her stranded in the country for weeks
Katie’s 10-minute ride took a horrific turn when a cord attaching her to the boat snapped. She was in the air for 45 minutes before she fell hundreds of feet and crashed into an airport
She miraculously survived the horrific crash, but the injuries were extensive.
Katie had fractured her pelvis, skull, and four ribs, her lung collapsed, and she suffered a broken jaw and cheek as well.
Katie (pictured on her vacation before the accident) miraculously survived the horrific crash, but the injuries were extensive
She also suffered major head trauma and during surgery doctors had to put in 14 screws and titanium mesh in her head.
‘It’s one of those calls you never want to take and of course you’re thinking the worst’, Kelly Malone, Katie’s father, told KSWB.
Kelly flew down to Mexico to see his daughter in the ICU and couldn’t believe the contrast to the smiling girl he had seen in vacation pictures she had texted him just days before.
‘It was sad to see her in that condition,’ he said. ‘Actually that morning she sent me some pictures of her – she went surfing the day before.’
‘And then you see her like that and you see her in the hospital and it just breaks your heart. It’s hard. It’s a really emotional journey.’
Although Katie was overcoming some obstacles, things turned dire as her pituitary gland – found at the base of the brain – swelled to 10 times its normal size.
Katie’s brother Brendan made a video from her hospital bed, pleading for help so that she could be flown home and receive medical care back in the US.
Katie had fractured her pelvis, skull, and four ribs, her lung collapsed, and she suffered a broken jaw and cheek as well
Katie also suffered major head trauma and during surgery doctors had to put in 14 screws and titanium mesh in her head
Although Katie was overcoming some obstacles, things turned dire as the pituitary gland – found at the base of the brain – swelled to 10 times its normal size
‘Her pituitary gland won’t stop swelling, it’s sending false messages to her kidney,’ he explained. ‘With certain degrees of this, it becomes life-threatening.’
‘Doctors here at the hospital feel they’ve done the best they can, but unfortunately the type of medical attention she needs is in the United States.’
Since Katie did not have travel insurance, a GoFundMe campaign raised money for her initial operations.
But it was not enough to cover the costs of an air ambulance back to San Diego.
That’s when former California Rep Duncan L Hunter and his son, current California congressman Duncan D Hunter, stepped in to help.
While a GoFundMe campaign was able to raise money for Katie’s initial operations, it was not enough to cover the costs of an air ambulance back to San Diego
That’s when former California Rep Duncan L Hunter and his son, current California congressman Duncan D Hunter, gave a personal guarantee for the $13,900 air ambulance
Hunter Sr contacted the Mexican embassy and sent a personal guarantee to Life Flight for the $13,900 air ambulance.
He said several other groups also helped pay for the flight and hundreds have since donated to pay for Katie’s hospital bills.
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‘Once we got the congressman involved, everything just went real smooth,’ Kelly said.
‘He had some contacts. I believe he even contacted the consulate in Washington DC. After that everything just went really, super fast.’
Katie, who had been in Mexico for weeks, touched down in San Diego at 9pm on Tuesday and was instantly welcomed home by her family
Katie landed at Brown Field and was immediately transferred to UC San Diego Medical Center
Katie, who had been in Mexico for weeks, touched down in San Diego at 9pm on Tuesday and was instantly welcomed home by her family.
‘It was a dream, it was everything we’ve been praying for,’ Brendan told KGTV. ‘It was a perfect flight for Katie, she was all full of smiles.’
After Katie landed at Brown Field, she was transferred to UC San Diego Medical Center via ambulance.
As her family focuses on Katie’s recovery, police in Mexico continue to investigate the parasailing company behind the horrific crash.
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