Home » Stuck in Colombia, Family Seeks Help to Fly Injured Loved One to South Florida
Colombia Featured News South America

Stuck in Colombia, Family Seeks Help to Fly Injured Loved One to South Florida

The family of a man who grew up in Miami said an explosion burned more than half his body during a vacation with friends in Medellin.

Relatives of Michael Eugene Clark, Jr., who now lives in Orlando, want him flown to South Florida for medical care at Jackson Memorial Hospital’s burn unit. However, authorities in Colombia will not release him without payments, according to Clark, Jr.’s sister.

CBS News Miami emailed representatives with Hospital de San Vicente Fundacion for comment. No one replied before this story’s deadline.

Clark’s family shared photos and a video clip of the father of two who loves the Miami Dolphins. Loved ones said Clark, Jr. joined two friends from his alma mater Clark Atlanta University on a guys’ trip last Wednesday. The group traveled together every year, relatives said. They have been to Medellin at least twice before their latest trip, according to relatives.

This time, the group celebrated the 40th birthday of one of Clark, Jr.’s friends, relatives said. The trip went to a friend’s condo where trouble erupted Friday night.

“They were out on the balcony and they had like a gas fire pit or something like that and somehow it exploded,” Michelle Asbury, Clark, Jr.’s sister said.

Asbury said one of the men died while flames burned over half of Michael’s body.

“My heart stopped to be honest with you,” Asbury said. “This is my youngest brother (we have a) very close relationship and it was just hard when you can’t reach a loved one out of the country and get to them as fast as you can.”

Michael’s wife, parents and niece flew to be by his side.

“He was wrapped like a mummy,” Arias Austin, Michael’s niece said. “He’s wrapped from head to toe because he’s burned from head to toe. That first day his head was pretty swollen. His lips were pretty big. It’s something you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.”

Clark, Jr.’s family wants him flown to Miami where they think he will get the best care and recover best. However, he did not have travel insurance will have to pay the hospital San Vicente Fundacion out of pocket.

“We were told that he wouldn’t be released until those bills were paid,” Asbury said. “So he has medical insurance. It’s just his medical insurance doesn’t cover him in another country.”

Relatives hope for the best while scrambling to find money to pay for Clark’s medical flight too.

Source: CBS News