Jetski stunt ends in disaster for NZ daredevil

Adrian De Villiers performing his signature jetski backflip which went disastrously wrong on the weekend
Adrian De Villiers performing his signature jetski backflip which went disastrously wrong on the weekend

A DAREDEVIL Kiwi jetski rider has a blood clot on the brain after his signature backflip went disastrously wrong as he was thrilling a big crowd at a boat expo.

Adrian De Villiers was doing a one-footed backflip on the downtown waterfront in Tauranga when his foot came out of its binding on the jetski and he was pitched over the handlebars.

The 43-year-old jetskier hit his head and briefly lost consciousness in front of spectators, some of whom were not entirely sure whether it was part of the show or not.

Wife Debbie, who saw it happen, said two men jumped into the harbour and held him up until an IRB which was laying out some buoys rescued Mr De Villiers.

She was really thankful that Scott Parry from the Fishing and Adventure TV Show and Rodney Thomsen from Adventurer paper acted so promptly. 

''The last thing he remembers was the ski coming towards him ... he was a bit blue when they got to him."

Adrian De Villiers
Adrian De Villiers

Mr De Villiers remembered being underwater and then floundering on the surface until his rescuers arrived.

"If he had been under water any longer, it may have been a different result," she said.

The accident on Friday was the first injury Mr De Villiers had sustained in more than 10 years of flat water freestyle jetski riding.

He was taken to Tauranga Hospital and then flown with an intensive care unit transport team to Waikato Hospital. "Considering the crack on the head, he is doing really well. He is even talking about getting back to work," Mrs De Villiers told the Bay of Plenty Times.

The only outward sign of injury was a black eye.

Surgeons did not need to operate to relieve the pressure on his head and it was now a case of waiting to see if the clot liquefies and disperses itself naturally.

Mrs De Villiers said Adrian was feeling so well that he sent her out to buy chocolate and biscuits. He was expected to transfer back to Tauranga Hospital tomorrow or Wednesday.

The accident has persuaded her husband to wear a helmet in the future even although helmets were not normal for jetski stunt riders in New Zealand

"I will duct tape the helmet around his head if I have to," she said.

Mr De Villiers is considered the only jetski rider in New Zealand able to do back flips on flat water. The trick is the signature move of his performances.

Another witness said it wasn't until Mr De Villiers put his hand up that people became aware that it was not part of his act. She saw him floating and then put his hand up.


Topics:  daredevil injury jetski offbeat

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