A California woman injured in a parasailing accident in Mexico on her 29th birthday returned to the United States Tuesday night.
Katie Malone’s 10-minute parasailing joyride in the Mexican resort area of Puerto Vallarta turned into a horrific nightmare when the cord connecting her to the boat snapped, the Daily Mail reported.
Katie remained in the air for 45 minutes as a storm in the area caused her parasail to move across the sky until it plunged several hundred feet to the ground. She crashed into an airport and survived—but suffered extensive injuries.
The 29-year-old suffered a broken pelvis, four fractured ribs, a fractured skull which required 14 screws and a titanium mesh implant to repair, a broken jaw, and an injured cheek.
Katie’s father, Kelly Malone, recalled the moment he got the call about his daughter and expected the worst.
“It’s one of those calls you never want to take and of course you’re thinking the worst,” Kelly told KSWB.
Kelly added that he went down to visit his daughter in the hospital in Mexico, where she remained in the ICU.
‘”It was sad to see her in that condition,” he said. “Actually that morning she sent me some pictures of her—she went surfing the day before.”
Although Katie had been on the mend, she suffered complications from her head injury that caused her pituitary gland to swell ten times its size. The damage was so extensive it required a specialist’s care in the U.S.
Because Katie did not obtain travel insurance for her trip, her brother Brendan Malone set up a GoFundMe page to pay for her transport back to the U.S. for care. As of Wednesday afternoon, the page raised more than $47,000.
When the family realized that the money raised from the crowdfunding page could not cover an air ambulance that would take Katie back home to San Diego, the family’s pastor reached out to former Rep. Duncan L. Hunter (R-CA) for help.
Hunter reached out to the Mexican embassy and helped pay for Katie’s flight back to the U.S.
“Once we got the congressman involved, everything just went real smooth,” Kelly said. “He had some contacts. I believe he even contacted the consulate in Washington, D.C. and then after that everything just went really, super fast.”
After spending several weeks in Mexico, Katie touched down in San Diego at 9 p.m. Tuesday evening and was transferred to UC San Diego Medical Center for further treatment.
Mexican police are in the process of investigating the accident and the parasailing company responsible for organizing the experience.