A fundraiser aimed at bringing back an Australian police officer placed in an induced coma after falling off a cliff in Croatia has raised more than half a million dollars.
Constable First Class Ella Cutler, 25, from Perth, was on the final leg of her European holiday when she fell over a waist-deep wall at Pile in Dubrovnik in the early hours of August 26.
Officer Cutler was drinking with a man when she plunged 11 meters and suffered horrific injuries, including fractures to her spine, head, limbs and ribs.
She was rushed to a Croatian hospital in critical condition.
After her application for travel insurance was denied – her insurer, RAC, refusing to cover the bill because Ms Cutler had been drinking – her family was left with a $500,000 medical bill, including an air ambulance for take her home to Perth.
Perth Constable First Class Ella Cutler (pictured) was on the final leg of her European holiday when she fell 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 an 11-metre fall, including fractures to her skull, spine, limbs, 12 broken ribs and punctured lungs.
A GoFundMe The page, created by his brother, reached its goal on Sunday morning after just six days.
Ms Cutler’s best friend and colleague Dani Morrison on Sunday thanked WA Police, the wider Western Australian community and Australia for their donation to the Bring Ella Home campaign.
“I would like to thank the entire WA community for giving back to a girl who has dedicated the last six years to serving the community herself, which is so nice to see people thanking her for that,” Officer Morrison told the Western Australia.
“And across the rest of Australia, and even overseas, people have donated, which is just heartwarming to see that Ella’s story has really touched them.”
“They never met her and they still donated, so thank you all because the amount of donations has been just wonderful for her.”
Officer Morrison said she became best friends with Ms Cutler after meeting her at work and described the young woman as a “compassionate, empathetic and caring person”.
“She is selfless. Despite her age, she has been a mentor at work and she is a mom outside of work. She’s just a beautiful soul. She will do anything for anyone. She’s sweet, kind, she’s an amazing girl,” Officer Morrison said.
She added that the situation for Ms Cutler’s family is “horrible”, with friends, family and colleagues “hurt”.
“I think everyone is so touched and devastated that such a horrible accident could happen to someone like Ella,” Officer Morrison said.
Ms Cutler’s best friend and colleague Dani Morrison (left) thanked WA Police, the Western Australian community and the rest of Australia for donating and helping raise $500,000 to bring back Ella at home.
Ms Cutler was drinking with the 34-year-old when the two leaned against a wall (pictured) shortly before falling.
Officer Cutler was moved from the intensive care unit, but remains in critical condition.
Officer Morrison said Cutler, who was supposed to begin detective training on Monday, had a “long road” to recovery with “numerous surgeries to undergo.”
“She was told at first that she wasn’t going to make it, so to get through that and every day, Ella got better,” Officer Morrison said.
Officer Cutler is scheduled to undergo surgery this week, and the family hopes to bring her home as soon as possible.
Ms Cutler had kissed a 34-year-old man at a party when the two men leaned against a waist-high wall before falling.
Ms Cutler suffered a series of serious injuries in the fall, including fractures to her skull, spine, limbs, 12 broken ribs and punctured lungs.
She was taken to hospital in critical condition and placed in a coma. The man was treated for a broken leg and is recovering.
Nicole and Joshua Cutler, Officer Cutler’s mother and brother, landed in Croatia on Friday and are by his side throughout his recovery.
The policewoman’s mother said doctors gave her daughter a 5 percent chance of survival.
“Then hearing that the insurance company had failed us, we were completely shocked,” Ms Cutler told 7News.
“I never imagined that insurance wouldn’t help us bring her home and I don’t understand.
“I really don’t understand how an insurance company could imagine that a family or an individual who took out insurance in good faith could get away with it.”
Officer Cutler was moved from the intensive care unit, but remains in critical condition. She is scheduled to undergo further surgeries with her family in hopes of bringing her home as soon as possible.
Andrijana Biskup of the Dubrovnik-Neretva police confirmed that the couple had been hugging or kissing at the time of the fall and said alcohol may have played a role.
The local hospital confirmed that breath tests revealed the man had a blood alcohol level of 0.2 – four times the Australian legal driving limit – while the woman had a level of 0.3, or six times the legal driving limit.
At the time of the accident, the couple were reportedly spending an evening in Dubrovnik’s Old Town, which is packed with tourists every summer.