In Hot Water

"As much pain as I was in, I just thought it was broken or dislocated. I never imagined that it was a life-threatening situation."

Louis Orr in a RFDS PC-12

Louis Orr, a young city slicker-turned-cattle ringer, was enjoying his fourth year at a station in the remote Barkly Region of the NT, when a freak accident struck. 

The 21-year-old and his mates had set off waterskiing at the station's local watering hole – a popular spot for workers wanting to cool off from the Territory's extreme heat. 

On his fifth run for the day, Louis came off second best, falling into the water. 

When he swam back to his mates and tried pulling himself up onto the jet ski, he realised he couldn't move his left leg.

“I knew something was wrong as soon as I picked my leg up out of the water – it was completely poking out, flopping around and I had no feeling in my ankle,” he said.

“I didn’t know how bad it was, but it wasn’t good.”

Louis was airlifted to the nearest major hospital, Alice Springs, where scans confirmed the worst. 

With a broken tibia, a severed nerve, three ruptured ligaments in his knee, and no blood flow to his lower leg due to a crushed artery, Louis had only a matter of hours to undergo emergency surgery at the Royal Darwin Hospital for a chance to save his limb.

Watch the video for the full story.

Louis Orr recovering at home