A fundraiser to bring back an Australian police officer who was placed into an induced coma after falling off a cliff in Croatia has raised more than half-a-million dollars.
Perth First Class Constable Ella Cutler, 25, was on the final leg of her European holiday when she tumbled over a waist-high wall at Pile in Dubrovnik in the early hours of August 26.
Constable Cutler was drinking with a man when she plunged 11 metres suffering horrific injuries including fractures to her spine, head, limbs and ribs.
She was rushed to a Croatian hospital in critical condition.
After her travel insurance claim was denied – with her insurer, RAC, refusing to cover the bill because Ms Cutler had been drinking – her family were left with a $500,000 medical bill including an air ambulance to bring her home to Perth.
Perth First Class Constable Ella Cutler (pictured) was on the final leg of her European holiday when she tumbled over a waist-high wall at Pile in Dubrovnik in the early hours of August 26
The 25-year-old (pictured) was rushed to a hospital in Croatia in a critical condition after suffering serious injuries in the 11 metre fall, including fractures to her skull, spine, limbs, 12 broken ribs and punctured lungs
A GoFundMe page, set up by her brother, hit its target on Sunday morning after just six days.
Ms Cutler’s best friend and fellow constable Dani Morrison on Sunday thanked the WA Police Force, the broad Western Australian community and Australia for donating to the bring Ella home campaign.
‘Like to thank the broader community of WA, who has given back to a girl who has given the last six years to serving the community herself, which is just so lovely to see people thank her for that,’ Constable Morrison told the West Australia.
‘And to the rest of Australia, and even overseas, there have been people who have donated, which is just heartwarming to see Ella’s story has really touched them.’
‘They’ve never met her, and they’ve still donated, so just thank you to everyone because the amount of donations has just been wonderful for her.’
Constable Morrison said she became best friends with Ms Cutler after meeting her on the job and described the young woman as a ‘compassionate, empathetic and caring person’.
‘She’s selfless. Despite her age, she’s been a mentor in the job, and she’s a mum outside the job. She’s just a beautiful soul. She will do anything for anyone. She’s gentle, she’s kind, she’s an incredible girl,’ Constable Morrison said.
She added the situation for Ms Cutler’s family is ‘awful’, with friends, family, colleagues ‘hurting’.
‘I think everyone is just so touched by it and devastated that such an awful accident could happen to someone like Ella,’ Constable Morrison said.
Ms Cutler’s best friend and fellow constable Dani Morrison (left) thanked the WA Police Force, the Western Australian community and the rest of Australia for donating and helping to raise $500,000 to bring Ella home
Ms Cutler had been drinking with the 34-year-old man when the two leant against a wall (pictured) shortly before they toppled over
Constable Cutler has been moved from the intensive care unit but remains in a critical condition.
Constable Morrison said Cutler, who was supposed to start her detective training on Monday, has a ‘long road’ to recovery with ‘many surgeries to undergo’.
‘She got told at the beginning that she wasn’t going to survive, so to overcome that and then each and every day, Ella has improved,’ Constable Morrison said.
Constable Cutler is scheduled for surgery this week, with the family hoping to bring her home as soon as possible.
Ms Cutler had been kissing a 34-year-old man during a night out when the two leant against a waist-high wall before they fell over.
Ms Cutler suffered a string of serious injuries in the fall, including fractures to her skull, spine, limbs, 12 broken ribs and punctured lungs.
She was rushed to hospital in a critical condition and placed in a coma. The man was treated for a broken leg and is recovering.
Nicole and Joshua Cutler, Constable Cutler’s mother and brother, landed in Croatia on Friday and are by her side through her recovery.
The policewoman’s mum said doctors gave her daughter a five per cent likelihood of survival.
‘Then to hear that the insurance company had let us down – we just went into complete and utter shock,’ Ms Cutler told told 7News.
‘I had never anticipated that the insurance wouldn’t help us bring her home and I don’t understand.
‘I’m really confused how an insurance company could imagine a family or someone that had taken out insurance in good faith would be able to navigate their way through that.’
Constable Cutler has been moved from the intensive care unit but remains in a critical condition. She is scheduled for further surgeries with family hoping to bring her home as soon as possible
Andrijana Biskup, from the Dubrovnik-Neretva police, confirmed the couple had been cuddling or kissing when the fall happened and said alcohol may have played a part.
The local hospital confirmed the blood alcohol tests revealed the man had a 0.2 reading – four times the legal Australian driving limit – while the woman was 0.3, or six times the legal driving limit.
The couple were believed to have been on a night out in Dubrovnik’s old town area at the time of the accident, which is packed with tourists every summer.