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The father of a girl who died in the Rhodes parasailing tragedy says the surviving nephew is fighting for his life


The father of the girl who was killed in a parasailing accident in Rhodes says his nephew is fighting for his life in the hospital.

Tony Hayes said he had no idea whether 15-year-old James Connelly would recover from the horror case that caused the deaths of his 13-year-old brother Michael and 15-year-old cousin Jessica.

A terrible storm blew off the coast of Rhodes, cracking the rope securing the trio to a speedboat.

The cousins ​​Jessica Hayes (15) (center) and Michael Connelly (13) (left) – known to his family as Mikey – died in a parasailing accident on Rhodes. Mikey's brother James Connelly, 15, is in critical condition in the hospital after the accident

A terrible storm blew up off the coast of Rhodes, cracking the rope securing the trio to a speedboat. Pictured: Jessica Hayes, 15 (left) and Michael Connelly, 13

A terrible storm blew off the coast of Rhodes, cracking the rope securing the trio to a speedboat. Pictured: Jessica Hayes, 15 (left) and Michael Connelly, 13

Jessica's father Tony from Kettering said, “Right now we want to go home and lock ourselves in our house.

"We have no idea if James will recover, but we just want to take him home."

Tony also revealed that the man who ran the boat trip was aware of poor weather forecasts but decided to take a different route in hopes of avoiding it.

He said: “The person in charge said the weather would worsen later, so it would be better to get on the boat early.

The family did not know the tragedy that had struck their children for some time, as the ship's captain did not return to the beach. Pictured: The trio play the card game UNO together

The family did not know the tragedy that had struck their children for some time, as the ship's captain did not return to the beach. Pictured: The trio play the card game UNO together

“We waved them off and they should have stayed in our line of sight. We have been on the island for four days watching other people on the boat and it was always in sight.

“But because the weather was coming, he decided to take a different route. They went to a new place to avoid the bad weather.

He walked away from his normal direction where it was lighter, but went out of sight. I think there were about eight people on the boat in total. & # 39;

Jessica Hayes (right), 15, died in Rhodes after a terrible parasailing accident with her cousin Michael Connelly, 13. Their family first heard that James was in the worst shape and that Jessica and Michael had only suffered fractures

Jessica Hayes (right), 15, died in Rhodes after a terrible parasailing accident with her cousin Michael Connelly, 13. Their family first heard that James was in the worst shape and that Jessica and Michael had only suffered fractures

Pictured from left to right in a 2012 photo: Jessica Hayes, James and Michael Connelly

Pictured from left to right in a 2012 photo: Jessica Hayes, James and Michael Connelly

The family did not know the tragedy that had struck their children for some time, as the ship's captain did not return to the beach.

Tony said, “We found out something went wrong because the boat came back without the kids.

“The guy who brought her out wasn't on the boat when it came back either. It was a tourist driving it back and he shouted, "Something bad has happened."

Jessica's father Tony paid tribute to his & # 39; beautiful daughter & # 39; (Image)

Jessica's father Tony paid tribute to his & # 39; beautiful daughter & # 39; (Image)

“But there was no one with walkie talkies to get a message from the scene of the accident, and no one could tell us what had happened.

“My wife waited three hours on the beach for the children to come back.

“I had to get our youngest daughter Molly out of the situation because it was too much.

"We didn't find out the full truth until much later, when we got to the hospital."

Tony paid tribute to his "beautiful" daughter when he criticized medical professionals for reacting to the tragedy.

They first heard that James was in the worst shape and that Jessica and Michael had only suffered fractures.

He told The Sun, “They were dead the entire time in the hospital – yet we were held together with the false hope that they were all well.

“How the nurse told us after four hours that they died. There was no empathy. She almost screamed it. It was so strict.

“It took us four hours to find out what happened. They put us in misery for four hours. & # 39;

Sharon and Philip Connelly are pictured with their sons James (right) and Michael (center left).

Sharon and Philip Connelly are pictured with their sons James (right) and Michael (center left).

Pictured: the rocks on which the three young people were found in an area called Gina in Rhodes, Greece

Pictured: the rocks on which the three young people were found in an area called Gina in Rhodes, Greece

The police even came to collect the family's passports during the four hours but refused to tell what happened.

They later learned that the police were using the photos to identify the bodies, which Tony had to confirm heartbreakingly yesterday.

The first pictures of the three children were taken today. A photo taken in 2012 shows them huddled and smiling in their school uniforms.

A family source said, “Jessica was really creative. She loved being creative. And she just loved people. She was the dearest person.

“The two families always looked forward to vacationing together. You work hard and there is a release from reality. & # 39;

In mid-air, the trio spun on a jagged ledge that was just out of sight of the sunbathers, and is believed to have fallen from a height of 400 feet. Due to the remote location where the teenagers fell, it took rescue workers several hours to reach them.

It is believed that James – who survived – fell on the rocks, broke both legs, and sustained injuries to his head and spine.

James' mother, Sharon Connelly, 47, passed out when she finally saw the extensive damage to her son's face at the hospital, Protothema reported.

Then she regained consciousness and is said to have yelled “Where are my other two children?” Thinking that her niece Jessica and son Michael may just have been injured and taken to the hospital in another ambulance.

Yesterday, a member of staff told how one of the mothers in the group came to the beach where the teenagers left after they had not returned.

He said, “She asked the lifeguards, where are the children? You should have been back by now. & # 39; She had no idea what had happened. Nobody did.

James McLean holds up a painting by his grandson Michael (right) next to his brother James (left)

James McLean holds up a painting by his grandson Michael (right) next to his brother James (left)

Michael and James Connelly are shown in a photo taken in 2014. James - who survived the tragedy - is currently in critical condition in a hospital in Rhodes

Michael and James Connelly are shown in a 2014 photo. James – who survived the tragedy – is currently in critical condition in a hospital in Rhodes

“The company that brought the kids out has been here for about fifteen years.

“Something like this has never happened before.

The first thing we realized was when the coast guard came and took the chief away.

"Two boats were also taken, presumably for forensic investigation."

The accident happened yesterday afternoon between noon and 1 p.m.

The Norwegian couple Heir Hereid and Ine Sandal, in their mid-50s, experienced the tragedy in their holiday home.

The couple spoke as they planted flowers at the death site and related how the boat was desperately trying to catch up with the parasailing trio after the line broke.

The teenagers, two aged 15 and another aged 13, were on vacation in Rhodes, Greece when the incident caused them to fall from an "extreme" height

The teenagers, two aged 15 and another aged 13, were on vacation in Rhodes, Greece when the incident caused them to fall from an "extreme" height

Pictured: Eyewitnesses Heir Hereid and Ine Sandal at the rocks where the three young people were found today in Rhodes, Greece

Pictured: Eyewitnesses Heir Hereid and Ine Sandal at the rocks where the three young people were found today in Rhodes, Greece

The heir said, “I looked out the window and saw a parachute go by.

"It wasn't tied to anything and I thought, 'Is that a crazy person doing a stunt?

“The next thing I know is that a boat is racing around 200 meters behind and is desperately trying to pull in the parachute.

& # 39; It was in full swing.

I saw the parachute collapse, but from where I was standing I couldn't tell if it had landed in the sea or on the rocks.

“Only later did I find out the truth from the authorities. It's heartbreaking. & # 39;

Ine said: & # 39; It's a tragedy. We can't believe it. & # 39;

Locals said the storm that claimed the lives of the children exploded without warning.

The 60-year-old builder Manolis Markoulis said: “It happened in a split second, the sky turned black and a great wind blew up.

There was a sandstorm on the beach and people ran for cover.

"It's a crazy accident and the whole island can't get over what happened."

Yesterday, employees of the parasailing company, which operates from a stretch of beach at the back of the hotel, were questioned by the island's prosecutor's office.

It turns out that the boat operator at the center of the tragedy could be charged with manslaughter for failing to finish the voyage at the start of the storm.

A spokesman for the Greek Coast Guard said: “The Coast Guard was informed of the accident by a military watchtower and the water sports company.

The two teenagers were found on the rocks near the town of Lindos in Rhodes, Greece

The two teenagers were found on the rocks near the town of Lindos in Rhodes, Greece

& # 39; A coast guard ship was dispatched to the scene immediately.

& # 39; The ambulance service has been informed.

They were found in a remote rocky area by the Coast Guard and pulled out by the 51-year-old parasailing boat operator with the help of the fire department.

The 15-year-old boy was taken to the General Hospital while the dead were taken to the morgue.

& # 39; An investigation is ongoing. The skipper was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter. & # 39;

The parents of the dead children were taken to a morgue for identification.

The family at the center of the tragedy is believed to be from Corby, Northamptonshire.

A Northamptonshire police spokeswoman said last night that responsibility for the case rests with the Greek authorities and the Foreign Office but that the Northamptonshire coroner will be informed.

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