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Recovery uncertain for North Carolina man who fell off beach pier

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DURHAM, N.C. — 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 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.

Although initial reports speculated that alcohol was involved in the fall, Navarro was adamant 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.”