Rhodes parasailing deaths: Generous Brits raise £40K for family of two teens killed in tragedy as third fights for life
2nd November 2020

GENEROUS Brits have donated more than £40,000 to the devastated family of two teens killed in a Greek parasailing accident – as a third fights for his life in hospital.

They have shown their support following the deaths of Jessica Lee Hayes, 15, and her cousin Michael 'Mikey' Connelly, 13, on the holiday island of Rhodes on Wednesday.

The pair were parasailing with Michael’s older brother James, 15, when a rope attaching their parachute to a speedboat snapped.

All three were carried hundreds of feet in the air into rocks off the fishing village of Lindos.

James survived the horror plunge but remains in an induced coma in hospital.

Jessica’s dad Tony Hayes, from Corby, Northants, has now thanked the British public for their support as they continue to deal with their “nightmare”.

A GoFundMe page has already raised an incredible £40,000 for the tight-knit family.

It states: "We are raising money for the family to be used to support them both now and with the struggles that lie ahead."

Speaking from a hospital in Rhodes, Tony told The Sun on Sunday: “The nice messages from people across the country have been such a support.

"It is wonderful to know people are so kind. The British Consulate has also been a huge support, they have been magnificent.

“I cry every time I see how much people have donated. It’s simply incredible.”

Local Greek businessman Nikos Mallios, 51, who owns the watersports firm used by the kids, was arrested following the accident.

Greek law forbids three people parasailing at once and the minimum legal age is 16.

But Jessica, Michael and James were all allowed to take the trip as a trio – despite all being underage

Sources say cops have seized video evidence from passengers on the speedboat.

The news comes as James’ father Phil, a Corby steelworker, revealed an MRI showed no change in his son’s condition.

James’ uncle Tony said: “There is a long road ahead, legally. Right now we’re all doing very badly in all honesty.

“It’s a pain that is so sore we cannot operate. We cannot eat or sleep.

“We all miss Jessica and Mikey so badly. Jessica’s nine-year-old little sister is in so much pain.

“She was so close to Jess and the boys. She needs her big cousin James to pull through so they can laugh and joke as they did before.”

Phil and Sharon Connelly have described James as "the most perfect son", reports the BBC.

"He is in a dark place just now but with the support and prayer being offered and his medical care I'm confident he'll pull through," Phil added.

"He'll wake up to find his brother and cousin in eternal rest; it will devastate him like it has us."

Greek prosecutors have requested more time to pull evidence together before charging anyone over the children’s deaths.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said after the tragedy: "We are supporting the family of two British people following their death in Rhodes, and are in contact with the Greek authorities."

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