Denver boy, 8, suffers horrific injuries in fall from horse in Belize

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Denver boy, 8, suffers horrific injuries in fall from horse in Belize

An 8-year-old Denver boy suffered devastating injuries, including a fractured skull, after he fell off a horse in Belize during a stop on the family’s dream cruise vacation.

Stefan Keryan and his family were on a Carnival Cruise ship that docked last week in Belize, where they decided to go on an excursion to the Howler Monkey Sanctuary, Denver 7 reported.

The tour included a horseback ride, the boy’s mom Heidi Keryan told the outlet.

But the ride took a harrowing turn when the horse got spooked and took off running.

“I heard yelling, and I looked over. I see this horse coming from where everybody goes to go on the trail … back down the road towards us,” the distraught mother told the outlet.

“And as it’s running past I see that the saddle is flipped, and my son is being dragged by his foot,” she recounted. “My older daughter and I, you know, started yelling and screaming and running as fast as we could to get to him. But that horse was really fast.”

The mom said someone jumped in a car and finally stopped the galloping animal.

Stefan Keryan, 8, is pictured lying in the hospital
Stefan Keryan, 8, suffered a skull fracture, third-degree burns and lost a portion of his scalp in the devastating accident, his family said.
Keryan Family

Stefan got dragged “because the tour guide tied one foot to the stirrup,” according to a GoFundMe account that has raised more than $67,000.

He suffered third-degree friction burns on his back, arms and legs – and also “lost a large portion of his scalp, requiring plastic surgery,” according to the family’s fundraiser.

“A CT scan showed a skull fracture and a minor contusion at the back of his brain, but fortunately, there was no brain damage,” it said. 

With help from money raised, Stefan was finally airlifted from a Belize hospital and returned to the US on Sunday.

A photo posted by Peak Medevac on Facebook shows the little boy aboard a private jet that took him back to Denver.

Stefan is pictured aboard a medevac plane
Colorado-based Peak Medevac flew the boy back to Denver for free.
Keryan Family

The company’s owner — moved by reports of the little boy’s heartbreaking fall — offered to fly Stefan home for free, according to the outlet.

“My baby is finally home. Words cannot express the gratitude I have for all of the angels and hero’s who helped to rescue my son,” Heidi wrote on Facebook Monday.

“We will get through everything else because he has the best care he can get at children’s hospital,” she wrote along a photo of Stefan lying in a hospital bed.

Stefan is seen at a monkey sanctuary in Belize
Stefan fell off the horse when it became spooked during an excursion to a monkey sanctuary, the family said.
Keryan Family
Stefan is pictured at a monkey sanctuary in Belize
Someone jumped into a car and chased down the horse as it dragged the 8-year-old.
Keryan Family

In an earlier interview while her son was still hospitalized in Belize, the mom said “people have been amazing to us. We have had strangers come up to us and cry with us and pray with us and bring us flowers and food and the people in the hospital saved his life.”

But she worried the local medical facility did not have the special equipment and experts her son required.

“Just this morning he was crying and begging me to get him home. He just wants to come home,” the mom said shortly before Peak Medevac came through.

“As a mom, it’s the most critical thing. It’s all I can think about. I will do anything to get by somehow. All I care about is him living,” she told the station.

Pictured are Stefan and his mom, Heidi
“My baby is finally home. Words cannot express the gratitude I have for all of the angels and (heroes) who helped to rescue my son,” mom Heidi Keryan wrote on Facebook.
Keryan Family
Stefan Keryan is pictured on the cruise ship
Stefan was flown back to Denver, where he remains hospitalized.
Keryan Family

On Monday, Denver 7 reporter Kristian Lopez tweeted a video of the jet arriving as a crowd of supporters including his teachers at Orchard Park Academy stood on the tarmac holding signs. The school community helped raise money for the evacuation before Peak Medevac funded the flight.

“I was shocked and my heart was broken and I was scared for him and scared for the situation and I felt like we urgently needed to have a plan moving forward to help him all hands-on deck,” one of his teachers, Carisa Olmos, told KDVR.

Stefan and his mom Heidi
The accident happened on the family’s first-ever cruise.

Stefan Keryan, 8
Stefan’s teachers at the Orchard Park Academy helped raise money for the injured boy.

Stefan Keryan, 8
“He is super kindhearted, he is the sweetest soul,” teacher Carisa Olmos said.

Stefan lying at a hospital
Stefan is now hospitalized in Denver after his flight back from Belize.

“We started talking with mom and we realized that mom’s efforts were not working as far as getting him back here to get medical care,” she said. “So we connected with her and it was a team effort. We made phone calls, try a lot of things and the big push was getting the GoFundMe out there.”

Olmos described Stefan as “super kindhearted, he is the sweetest soul.”

“He’s so intelligent,” she added. “He’s always learning new things, he always loves a challenge and never gives up. He is someone you always want to work with and see grow and I can’t wait to see him reach his highest potential.”

There was no immediate response from Carnival to The Post’s request for comment.

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