LAKELAND (FOX 13) - A lineman from Polk County volunteered to help restore power to the hurricane-battered island of Puerto Rico, but just days into his work, he plunged 80-feet to the ground.
Now, the 39-year-old IBEW union lineman's family is desperate to get him home to Lakeland so he can get the medical care he needs.
Power workers in Puerto Rico are hoisted by helicopters high into the mountains to repair the island's transmission towers. It's dangerous work that requires no fear of heights.
Cameron Alley, a father of five from Lakeland, was dangling below one of those helicopters when the accident happened.
"I think they're the unsung heroes,” said Cameron's father, Dan Alley. “Everywhere they go they don't know what's gonna happen, and they will go 300-feet in the air on a cable spinning below a helicopter to get these people power back in there."
Cameron volunteered to head to the U.S. island back in October to help fix the destroyed electrical grid. But Wednesday, something went wrong.
“She came in and she said, 'Cameron’s been in an accident, he fell 80-feet,' and that’s all the information we have,” Dan said.
Loved ones don't have many details, but say Cameron, an experienced lineman, dropped about the height of an 8-story building from below a helicopter.
It's been a tense few days for friends and family here in the states, not having much information and not knowing the extent of Cameron’s injuries.
The Lakeland man is lucky to be alive.
“When he came down through the trees, I know that's what broke him up, but it probably saved his life," said Dan.
Cameron's wife, Trista was able to get to Puerto Rico Friday afternoon. She tells FOX 13 News Cameron’s body is battered, he has multiple broken bones, damaged ligaments, a dislocated wrist, and he is in a lot of pain.
There is some internal bruising, but right now it looks like he survived the fall without permanent injuries.
"He has to have a plane to come home in that is geared for him because he cannot sit up, he's got to be flat on his back, he can't come on a regular airplane," Cameron’s mom Pam Alley said.
Trista says Cameron will need surgery for the broken bones and fractures, and hopefully, over the next few days, the father of five will be stable enough to make the flight back here to Florida.
Cameron’s parents say they feel helpless and want their son back in the states.
"I'm really frustrated because there's nothing I can do, that's what's hurting me," said Dan.