Couple faces uphill struggle after waterfall plunge

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Couple faces uphill struggle after waterfall plunge

They’re in desperate need of crowdfunding help after using up all their medical aid on their son

Journalist


A crowdfunding drive has raised more than R95,000 for the medical bills of a couple who plummeted off the edge of a waterfall in Howick this month.
Andre Pretorius, 31, and his wife Mar-Louise, 29, were at the Karkloof Falls with their three-year-old son, Liam, when Andre slipped and fell off the edge of the falls.
Mar-Louise, who was holding their son, quickly passed him to a friend, and she ran over to help Andre. The two of them fell about 35m on to rocks below, sustaining serious injuries.
Emergency services found them at the base of the waterfall after members of the public pulled them out of the water.
Both were induced into a coma, but Mar-Louise has regained her consciousness.
“They were supposed to come for a braai at my house later that day,” said Kayleen Esterhuizen, the couple’s friend.
“So it was a nightmare, we couldn’t believe it. We can’t take away the pain, but my husband and I thought of raising money for them since they don’t have a medical aid.
“The doctors had to remove Andre’s spleen and drill a hole in his skull to drain the excess fluid. At the moment his internal bleeding has stopped, we are all waiting for him to wake up. The doctors said if he does not wake up today [Thursday], they will have to speak to the family and decide what to do. We don’t know what that means, we are all just waiting.”
Mar-Louise underwent eye surgery on Thursday. “She has a bad cut across her forehead, broken eye socket, broken shoulder, broken hip, bruises and sprains.
“Their son is doing well. He went deaf on one ear about a year ago, and the couple spent most of their money on his speech therapy and stuff, hence they could not afford medical aid,” said Esterhuizen.
“Most of Liam’s procedures were not covered by medical aid either. He would lose balance; he does not speak or chew so he eats liquid food.”
The fundraising target is R380,000. So far R95,254 has been raised on Backabuddy crowdfunding site, while R92,000 has been raised offline.

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