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Recovery uncertain for Raleigh man who fell off beach pier

Posted August 13, 2015

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— A Raleigh man who fell off a pier at Emerald Isle last month may never recover, his family said Thursday.

Daniel Flores, 41, fell from the Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier into shallow water on July 26. He was airlifted to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville and was recently moved to Duke University Hospital, where he underwent surgery Thursday.

Flores suffered head and neck injuries, as well as internal bleeding, from the 15- to 20-foot fall, and doctors say his prognosis isn't good, said Manuela Navarro, Flores' cousin.

"He’s not doing very well," Navarro said. "We just have hope things coming good for him."

Six families were together at the beach, and Flores had stayed on the pier with two relatives while everyone else headed a nearby parking lot, she said.

"My brother-in-law came running and said something happened – Daniel fell," she said. "He cannot talk very well because he was in shock."

Lesley Flores, 16, said no one saw how her father fell.

"Some of my uncles stayed with him. It happened in seconds. No one really saw what happened," she said.

Emerald Isle Police Chief Jeff Waters said alcohol was a factor in Daniel Flores' fall, saying it appears Flores was leaning over the railing, possibly waving to people on the beach below, and lost his balance.

Navarro was adamant, however, that no one in the gathering had been drinking before the accident.

The surgery Thursday was to repair damage to the right side of Daniel Flores' face so that he might be able to chew some food, his daughter said.

"He is awake. We still don’t know what can he understand and what can he not," she said. "He does have his eyes open, and he moves his right hand a little bit."

Lesley Flores said her father always tried to help people, and the family is hoping for some help in return now. Daniel Flores doesn't have health insurance, and medical bills are piling up, Navarro said.

"He was the only person working for his family," Navarro said, noting he has three younger children in addition to Lesley Flores. "The wife, she stays in the hospital all the time with him."

The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money to pay for Daniel Flores' care.

9 Comments

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  • Cary Tom Aug 14, 2015
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    Wow, a lot of assumptions there and since when is it against the law to go to the beach with family and perhaps drink. Nobody else ever does that. This is a really awful comment by you Mr Perfect

  • Mike Berthold Aug 14, 2015
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    Try re-reading my comment and who I quoted. Wasn't directed at him. But since you made your comment, seems his priorities were a little messed up. Instead of insurance it was more important to hang out at the beach, get bombed and fall on his head, then whine because he doesn't have insurance. If his job didn't pay enough, he would have been eligible for subsidies, you know, the part most people whine about the taxpayer paying. Now we'll have to pay for the entire amount because he didn't have any and there is little to no recourse for the hospital but to sue or pass the costs onto those with insurance.

  • Mike Berthold Aug 14, 2015
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    Here we go with the great ACA horror stories. Funny, our health insurance for a family of 6 went up a whopping $12 per month. The horror. If your rates "tripled" after ACA, you had a terrible insurance plan in the first place.

  • Paul Donovan Aug 14, 2015
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    He probably can't afford it since the great promise of affordable health care with the ACA has proven false.

  • Dan Carter Aug 13, 2015
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    So sorry........I have been on piers down there since I was able to walk, and later fish.....and never have seen anyone dive off into the sand.....so sorry.

  • Susan West Aug 13, 2015
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    Health insurance rates have increased tremendously. Depending on his family income, he may not have been able to afford it. Our family income is at 200% of federal poverty guidelines, with a college educated dad working and myself working part-time and homeschooling our son. Our rates tripled after ACA and we had to drop my husband from insurance. It's now 1.5 x our mortgage. Most people would have insurance if it's affordable.

  • Kathy Gourley Aug 13, 2015
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    Read the article! He did have a job!

  • Mannin Black Aug 13, 2015
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    @Jamie France; I guess I need to start robbing some cash registers so I can be that responsible person you are talking about to afford health insurance.

  • Jamie France Aug 13, 2015
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    Poor guy. I really do hope he gets better.

    Unfortunately, he's a poster boy for why we need health insurance. People rail against being forced to buy insurance, but if he had, they wouldn't have had this in the article:

    "Lesley Flores said her father always tried to help people, and the family is hoping for some help in return now. Daniel Flores doesn't have health insurance, and medical bills are piling up, Navarro said."

    Now, he's leaving all these headaches for his family. None of us thinks an accident like this will happen to us, but they do. Be responsible.