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Jet ski crash victim: 'I will defy medics and run again'

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A JET-SKI passenger who was told he would probably never run again after he almost lost his leg following a collision with a speed boat says he is determined to prove medics wrong.

Giles Corbin

For the first time since the incident, St Saviour resident Advocate Giles Corbin – who has completed several endurance challenges for charity – has described the moments immediately after the crash.

The 45-year-old says that the bottom part of his left thigh bone was ‘smashed off’ during the collision in St Brelade’s Bay and that if it had not been for the actions of people on a passing boat, he might have died.

He said: ‘I was conscious and was able to immediately swim back to the jet-ski, despite the fact my left leg was hanging off at an odd angle.

‘I just tried to remain calm and do whatever was required to get to shore. We were around 700m out in St Brelade’s Bay. I could see I was losing blood so I tried to breathe slowly and keep my heart rate down.

‘I was extraordinarily lucky that another boat was leaving the bay within minutes and stopped to help. I might not have made it but for the actions of the people on that boat.’

Mr Corbin was airlifted to Southampton following the crash on Sunday 9 July and doctors told him that there was a 90 per cent chance his leg would have to be amputated.

But two months on, Mr Corbin is making steady progress. The lawyer, who is a partner at Mourant Ozannes, returned to Jersey on 10 August after receiving treatment in hospitals in the UK, and earlier this week he was pictured smiling and being pushed out of the Royal Court in a wheelchair following the Assize d’Héritage – a ceremony to mark the start of the legal year.

He said the support from Islanders had helped him to pull through some low points.

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However, Mr Corbin, who has been told by surgeons that he will have to have a ‘total knee replacement in one or two years’, realises that his road to recovery will be long.

‘One physio has, in trying to manage my expectations, said that I will probably never run again,’ said Mr Corbin, who in 2006 completed a 3.8 km swim, 26.2 mile marathon and 180 km cycle ride over three consecutive days.

‘I am going to work hard to dispel that prediction.

‘As for cycling, I need a great deal more ankle and knee flexibility to cycle again compared to what I have presently. It has to more than double. It’s slow progress, but I’m fighting to get there.’

The States police and the Harbour Authority are still investigating the collision. A 36-year-old man who was arrested on suspicion of driving the speedboat recklessly remains on police bail.

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