A father today described the horrifying moment he was told his son had broken his back in a freak accident while holidaying with friends in Ibiza.
Josh Landmann was at a party close to the resort of San Antonio with a group of nine friends when he dived into a pool to cool off.
But the 20-year-old hit his head on the bottom of the unmarked pool, fracturing a vertebrae at the top of his back and compressing other vertebrae, leaving him unable to feel anything below his waist.
The former Rossall School pupil was rushed to hospital, having been given emergency care by a doctor who was also at the party.
He was later airlifted to nearby Majorca for major surgery.
Despite an initially bleak prognosis, and Mr Landmann left unable to feel or move his legs for a week after the accident, his family say he is now making a remarkable recovery.
He is able to wiggle his toes, move his legs slightly and feel some sensation in his feet.
Doctors have said that had his spine have been injured just centimetres higher in the accident – which happened on July 20, – Mr Landmann could have been left paralysed.
Parents Neil and Catherine, from Knott End, have praised the support they have had from Josh’s friends in the aftermath of the incident, as well as their son’s resilience.
Mr Landmann snr, who owns a lighting company, said: “We found out at about 6.30 in the morning. It’s the phone call from hell that no parents want to receive.
“You don’t want to receive any phone call that any of your children has been in an accident. We just didn’t know what to do with ourselves. We thought you have accidents doing something dangerous rather than just trying to cool down in a pool.
“We all do things with an element of risk attached and more often we get away with it, this was a pure accident, his only error was diving into a pool which was unfamiliar.”
Despite his son having a six week stint in four different hospitals, Mr Landmann said he feels lucky he did not suffer more.
He added: “Medics on the islands see these things come in a lot. While Josh was in hospital three people came in who hadn’t been quite as fortunate.
“An Italian lad had dived off a boat on to rocks and is fully paralysed.
“Even though it’s a terrible situation, we are extremely fortunate, we still feel lucky. If he’d injured a few centimetres higher he could have been paralysed.”
The parents flew out to Majorca, where Mr Landmann had been met in hospital by family friends already holidaying on the island, just a few hours after being told.
The former Lancashire hockey player, who also played cricket and swam for school teams, underwent a gruelling five-hour operation on his back two days later.
Surgeons removed the fractured vertebrae, replacing it with bone from his hip and pinning the vertebrae above and below that to compress the replacement.
Two weeks later Mr Landmann was airlifted back to the UK and taken to the Royal Preston Hospital before being moved to Southport and Ormskirk General last week.
He is now being treated at a specialist spinal rehabilitation unit and is determined to make a good recovery.
The 20-year-old has now had to postpone his plans to start studying automotive and transportation design at Coventry University having taken a year out after sixth form.
His father added: “He’s got some sensation and movement now. It gives us hope that he’ll just keep going from strength to strength, we don’t know what the long term prognosis is but he’s very, very buoyant.
“He’s lifting his legs now and having physio. From where he was a few weeks ago it’s looking positive.”
Mr Landmann’s father is keen to stress the importance of taking out holiday insurance before travelling.
He said: “This just goes to show the importance of having holiday insurance and your E111, which have paid for Josh’s treatment and repatriation by air ambulance.
“We can’t thank Josh’s friends, and their families, enough for the help and support they have offered.”