(AU NEWS) – A heroic father who leaped off a 13-foot balcony to save his son’s life was left fighting for his life in the hospital after cracking his skull open on the concrete below.
Doctors couldn’t believe Brad Lewis, 42, survived the fall when he arrived at intensive care.
The father of two was at a friend’s house in Sydney, Australia on Saturday, August 4 when his 8-year-old son Oscar shot a few Nerf gun bullets at him.
When the bullets missed and went over the first-floor balcony, Oscar ran to see where they went and lost his balance, according to a GoFundMe page set up to support the family.
Brad saw what was happening and lunged to grab his son, but his speed and weight carried the two of them over the balcony, tumbling towards the concrete below.
During the fall, the brave father — a former army officer and deep-sea diver — pinned Oscar to his chest and curled around him, taking the full force of the impact on his head.
“Are the kids OK? Don’t let them see me like this, don’t let me die mate,” Brad told his friend Beau as he drifted in and out of consciousness after the fall.
Oscar was concussed, fractured his skull and suffered bruising on the brain.
The pair were treated by paramedics and a CareFlight team at the scene before Brad was flown to Royal North Shore Hospital in a serious condition, the Daily Mail reported.
Brad sustained major head and neck injuries — cracking his skull open, bruising his brain and fracturing his C6 vertebrae.
His recovery is expected to last for another six to 12 months, and he has now been moved from the ICU to the head trauma department.
Oscar was taken to the same hospital and has since been released, but is still in shock and recovering slowly.
Annie Kendall, a friend of the family, wrote on the fundraising page: “He will not leave his mother’s side and now sleeps with six pillows around him from fear of falling out of bed.”
“While the family are still trying to come to terms with what happened, they are so incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support from their family, friends and the wider community — many of you they don’t even know.”
She also wrote that Oscar’s mother Suz had taken leave from her new job to care for the family, “but the household bills and mortgage repayments keep rolling in.”
As of Wednesday, more than $52,000 has been raised of their $150,000 goal.
“As the days go by, the realization of this new reality and the financial implications it will have on the family are just beginning to set in,” wrote Annie.
“The time has come for us to rally behind Brad and his family and give back just a taste of the goodness that he generously gives so many of us each and every day.”