POMPANO BEACH, Fla. – A South Florida firefighter was recently injured in an accident in Indonesia and now his loved ones are doing their best to get him back home.
Michael Hughes has been a Pompano Beach firefighter for a year and is based at Station 63.
“Always a smile on his face, always happy to be here,” Battalion Chief Richard Cupo said. “He’s had a very significant impact to the department in a very positive way.”
Hughes’ family said he was on vacation with friends in the Indonesian island of Bali when somehow, he fell over a banister and plummeted about 30 feet, damaging his spine, breaking every rib on his left side, puncturing his lung and putting a large gash on his head.
His family said they are uncertain of the exact circumstances that led to the fall.
“It’s just been very heart-wrenching,” his mother, Lorene Parker, said.
Hughes is now heavily medicated and doesn’t clearly remember the accident.
His insurance company paid for him to go to a certain hospital, but his family said the medical care was sub par, so they transferred him to a private hospital.
They said his insurance company now won’t pay for his care.
“Being that he’s abroad, they won’t accept his insurance,” the firefighter’s older brother, Patrick Hughes, said.
A family friend set up a GoFundMe page to raise $250,000 to pay for Hughes’ medical care and to fly him back to the United States to continue his treatment.
“We’re looking at potentially a week from now before he can even come home, given the medical attention he’s getting now and the recovery time that’s going to be required,” Patrick Hughes said.
So far, the GoFundMe page has raised more than $46,000.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Hughes was injured in a snowboarding accident. Hughes’ family says that while Hughes was snowboarding with friends in Japan ahead of his Bali trip, the exact circumstances around how he was injured in Bali are unclear.