Montana man making “miraculous” recovery after traumatic vacation accident

Posted at 10:31 AM, Jul 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-03 12:32:30-04

GREAT FALLS – A Great Falls man is recovering after a traumatic freak accident in April.

“There were definitely days where I didn’t think that we would ever get to this point,” Kelly Bimler said.

Craig Bimler and his family were vacationing in Mexico when he dove into the ocean and broke his neck.

“After everything that he overcame, I just knew that there was going to be lights at the end of the tunnel. We still have a lot of work to do. Craig says he knows he has a long road,” Kelly said.

Bimler was first transported from Cabo to San Diego. He’s now a patient at Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colorado.

“The first day we were here they got him dressed. They put him in a chair. It was just so incredibly powerful to see him change like night and day by just being in a different environment. That has just helped his spirits and mine as well,” Kelly said.

Kelly says he’s making progress every day. He can talk, eat, and is taking steps forward in his rehabilitation.

“Seeing what he was like when he was in San Diego and then coming here and seeing a whole different person, his whole story, just everything that we’ve been through and are going through is just very miraculous,” Kelly said.

Most recently, Bimler was able to meet the doctor who they say kept him alive until paramedics arrived on scene at the beach.

“That was very powerful for Craig. I don’t think he realized where he was and how far he has come. He honestly shouldn’t even be here right now,” Kelly said.

Now, the family is talking about life after this. Kelly says they talk about going back to “normal” and now thinking about making modifications to their house.

“We built our home eight years ago never thinking that you will have to make these modifications,” Kelly said.

“We’re going to get through it because the most important thing that Craig knows and that I know is he’s alive and he’s alive for a reason. There is something more and something better that is going to come out of this.”

Kelly says there is no discharge date yet.

“It’s really sad that it takes something like this to make you realize how important life is. In a blink of an eye, it can change,” Kelly said.

Kelly says the community support has been extremely uplifting.

“It’s overwhelming in such a good way. You don’t realize how many people love you and care about you until something like this happens and we are overwhelmed with all of the support. It’s just incredible. I get emotional when I think about it,” Kelly said.

Kelly says Craig will continue to fight until he can come home to Montana.

“He’s a fighter. He’s very determined and motivated and strong and his strength is going to get him through this. He said that to me yesterday, he’s got to do that himself. Nobody else can do it but him,” Kelly said.

“We are going to come home hopefully in a few months and he’ll go back to work. Things are going to be a little different but for the most part, he’s the same Craig that he has always has been. We’re going to go on with life. Craig is strong, and he knows everything is going to be okay and there’s a reason why he’s still here.”

-Elizabeth Transue reporting for MTN News