A NORTH-EAST graduate has been paralysed from the neck down following a swimming pool accident in Tenerife.
Marc Bonnar, of Ingleby Barwick, Stockton, was held in intensive care in Spain for two weeks but was flown back to Teesside early on Sunday morning.
The 23-year-old, who last week should have been celebrating his graduation ceremony for his animation design degree, has made good progress despite being on a ventilator.
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His condition was last night described as stable by James Cook University Hospital, where Mr Bonnar has been moved to.
His father, Gary, last night said: “He’s doing better and we’re just pleased he’s finally back home.”
Mr Bonnar was on the first day of his holiday with friends when the accident occurred.
A friend was at the scene quickly and it is understood his actions helped save Mr Bonnar's life. A coma was induced and he has had surgery on his spine and his condition has been improving.
An online petition was set up by friends worried a bed was not available at James Cook University Hospital.
However, The Northern Echo understands Mr Bonnar was not well enough to travel for more than a week. The actual transfer was only delayed for a day while a bed in the intensive care unit was found.
Mr Bonnar’s mother, Doreen, a manager of a care home, left a message on the petition website. She said: “My son has been in ITU (intensive care unit) in Tenerife for over two weeks. The care has been excellent. However, he will need full rehabilitation and this needs to be commenced as soon as possible.”
Luke Bell, who also signed the online petition, said: “He’s my best mate and I want him home.”
A spokeswoman for South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We cannot arrange for intensive care patients to be sent from one country to another until we are completely sure they are stable.
“It is not unusual for international repatriation to take two to three days as we have to make sure there is a suitable bed available and the patient is stable enough to travel.”