Page last updated at 13:12 GMT, Friday, 15 January 2010

Thousands raised for man hurt while diving in Colombia

Daniel Eley
Daniel Eley was working as a teacher in Colombia

Nearly £47,000 has been raised to help fly a man from Surrey back to the UK after a diving accident in South America left him with serious injuries.

Daniel Eley, 32, from Godalming, hit a submerged rock while diving into a river in Colombia on New Year's Day, fracturing three vertebrae in his back.

He is currently in intensive care being treated for spinal injuries.

His stepfather David Wheatley said there were signs he was stabilising but he was still very critical.

Mr Eley's family is trying to raise £90,000 to fly him back to the UK using the Air Ambulance.

Mr Wheatley said the cost of an ambulance was estimated at about £50,000, but Mr Eley would probably also have to spend "many months" in hospital in the UK, and there would also be rehabilitation to consider.

He is as much a son to me as my own children and it's just devastating
David Wheatley, stepfather

He said the family was very hopeful that the target of £90,000 would be achieved.

"We are absolutely amazed at the support," Mr Wheatley said.

"He is a wonderful young man. He is as much a son to me as my own children and it's just devastating."

Mr Eley worked for the charity Casa Alianza UK in Guatemala in 2006 to 2007, but was working as a teacher in Colombia when the accident happened.

'Help Dan'

However, his insurance only covered general healthcare in the country and did not include accident cover.

Mr Eley is currently being treated in the Colombian capital city of Bogota.

A Facebook page called "Help Dan" has been set up and fundraising events are being held in the Surrey area, including one at the Plough Inn, in Coldharbour, Leith Hill, on Saturday night.

Casa Alianza UK is running the appeal on behalf of the family.

Daniel Eley

The accident has left Daniel Eley paralysed from the neck down

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Briton injured diving in Colombia
12 Jan 10 |  Surrey

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