Tuesday 23 July 2019

Irishman injured in Sydney bridge fall awakes from coma on 21st birthday

Shaun Dunworth (inset) was seriously injured after a fall in Sydney
Shaun Dunworth (inset) was seriously injured after a fall in Sydney

Stephen Maguire

A young Donegal man who fell from a bridge in Australia has awoken from a coma on his 21st birthday and told his parents “I love you, Mum and Dad.”

Shaun Dunworth gave the most amazing news to parents Stevan and Karen after tragedy struck the popular lad in Sydney a month ago.

Shaun was rushed to St Vincent’s Hospital on Sunday morning July 29th with major trauma and brain injuries after falling off the Harbour Bridge onto a concrete underpath sustaining life-threatening injuries.

His parents made the gruelling 33-hour journey of 11,700 kms from their home village of Ramelton to arrive at his bedside two days later.

The Dunworth family, who kept vigil at Shaun’s bedside since their arrival, helped the nurses to decorate the room for Shaun’s 21st without any knowledge that he might open his eyes and talk to them.

But amazingly on Monday last, his 21st birthday, Shaun opened his eyes and spoke to his elated parents.

Shaun has successfully undergone a number of key surgeries on his pelvis and face and as he sat on the side of his bed on his 21st birthday he hugged his parents as they shed floods of tears in joyful celebration.

And in the past 24 hours Shaun has been taken off life support and is out of intensive care.

Back home in Ramelton as news filtered back of Shaun’s progress the community has been overjoyed and goodwill messages have flooded into their homes wishing him a speedy recovery.

Shaun’s aunt, Geraldine Magee said the family circle are overwhelmed with the good news and while there is a long road to recovery, they are thankful that Shaun is now making good progress.

The young Donegal man must now undergo MRI scans.

However, his family say he is well aware of his surroundings and his responses have been very positive and they are all very hopeful for his future progress and return home.

Geraldine revealed that his first words upon seeing his parents were ‘Mum and Dad, I love you.”

She said “We’re all just hoping and praying for Shaun. He has a long road to go but the fact that he has awoken and is speaking is very positive.

“His parents have been by his side from as soon as they could get out there and they have been just willing him to get better.

“For them to hear him speak and to tell them that he loved them is beyond their wildest dreams.

“We would like to thank everybody who has done anything in any way for Shaun. He is a lovely lad and everyone feared the worst for him.

“But hopefully this is now the start of his recovery process.”

Shaun, who was in Australia since January, had worked in shuttering on construction and had been accepted to engage on his visa programme days before the tragedy happened.

And as Ramelton rallied round in support a congregation of six hundred attended a Mass of Solidarity in St. Mary’s Church with celebrants Fr. Michael Carney and Fr. Des Sweeney.

A Go Fund Me page managed to raise more than €50,000 and on next Monday night an all star dance takes place in the Silver Tassie Hotel with a host of stars including Jimmy Buckley: Robert Mizzell: Gary Gamble: Martin Orr along with Jason and Paul McCahill.

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