Universal Studios stuntman, who fell in bid to stop fight, dies

Mr Nelson (left) during one of his performances (above).
Mr Nelson (above) during one of his performances.PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO
Mr Nelson (left) during one of his performances (above).
Mr Nelson during one of his performances (above).PHOTO: GOFUNDME

Universal Studios S'pore performer hit head on kerb while trying to help pal, dies a week later

Up to five days a week, he would bring the thrills of blockbuster film Waterworld to a live audience, with a series of bold jumps and turns on his jet skis and water skis.

In other daring stunts, performed with a 10-member cast at Universal Studios Singapore, the former professional water skier could even be seen leaping into the waters from a set of up to three storeys high.

American stuntman John Denley Nelson, 30, braved many risks over six years on the job, but eventually lost his life on New Year's Day, a week after stepping in to help a female friend embroiled in a fight.

The fight took place in the early hours of Christmas Eve at Boat Quay, just as Mr Nelson was leaving a bar with another friend, according to an online fund-raising campaign set up on GoFundMe.

Created by his fellow cast mate and friend, Ms Melissa Broughton, it described how he later fell and hit his head on a concrete kerb. He suffered a "traumatic head injury, with excessive swelling of the brain" as a result, it added.

A Singapore Civil Defence Force spokesman confirmed it was alerted to the incident at about 3.20am on Dec 24.

Mr Nelson was taken to the Singapore General Hospital, along with another man. Both were conscious at the time.

As Mr Nelson lay warded in the Intensive Care Unit in an induced coma, his parents got on the next flight available to be by his side, Ms Broughton said.

She had first appealed online on Dec 30 for funds to help his family with medical bills.

Last Saturday, she posted an update, saying: "He was taken from us way too soon, but we know he is in a much better place in heaven with his grandparents, smiling down on us, forever in all of our hearts."

As of yesterday, about $30,000 has been raised through the platform.

Said Amphibian Stunts managing partner Peter Nelson: "We are grieving the loss of our dear friend and colleague."

In response to media queries, US Embassy spokesman Nicholas Snyder said that the embassy has confirmed Mr Nelson's death.

"Our heartfelt condolences go to his family and friends. Our consular staff is providing all possible consular assistance," he added.

The Straits Times understands that a man in his 20s has since been charged with rioting.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 05, 2016, with the headline 'Stuntman, who fell in bid to stop fight, dies'. Print Edition | Subscribe