Chef Justin Sutherland was left with severe injuries after a scary boating accident over the weekend.
Sutherland, best known as one of the finalists on season 16 of Top Chef, was enjoying his Fourth of July weekend with his friends when everything went wrong on the water. In a GoFundMe his friend Beth Gillies explained:
“On Sunday, July 3rd, like many Minnesotans, Justin was enjoying a day off, boating on the water with friends. Of course, he was the “Captain” and of course, he had to wear an official captain’s hat.”
Wearing the captain’s hat is what led to the scary situation, however, when it flew off of his head. He attempted to retrieve his special cap but “fell into the water” — ATOP the boat’s moving propellor! Beth recalled:
“While piloting his boat, Justin’s hat blew off. He tried to grab it, hit a wave, and was knocked off the boat. He fell into the water near the motor, and the propeller did a number on his head and left arm.”
What a horrifying situation…
Luckily he survived; however, he did sustain multiple serious injuries. Beth went on to detail the wounds that her friend sustained, stating that he had a broken arm and a “severely broken” jaw:
“His arm is broken, but his grip remains strong and there appears to be no nerve damage. His jaw is severely broken, but doctors are optimistic that with several more surgeries he will be grinning in no time. In addition to his broken bones, he sustained many lacerations, but with plastic surgery, they will become a reminder of his survival story.”
How awful, but we’re honestly so glad he’s alive!
An Instagram post was made notifying fans of the situation and asking for “positive thoughts and prayers”. It also states that any new updates will be posted to Sutherland’s account. Check out the full post (below):
It’s been reported that Justin is still currently in the hospital and is going to be there for quite some time. He’s allegedly had “multiple surgeries” and will have to have many more. It’s also said that he’s unable to speak to any of his friends or loved ones right now because his jaw is “wired shut”.
The GoFundMe was created because unfortunately the chef had no health insurance as most restaurants do not offer those benefits to their employees — even the famous ones. At the time of this writing, Beth has raised $103,000 of the $500,000 goal. It’s stated in the description that all the proceeds will go toward medical bills and recovery costs. Celebrity chefs including Guy Fieri and Andrew Zimmerman have donated to the cause. Chef Brian Ingram will also be hosting a “Day of Hope” at his restaurant Hope Breakfast this Thursday according to his Facebook page. All proceeds will go directly to his fellow chef’s recovery fund.
His friends and loved ones are staying positive in this rough time with a heartwarming sentiment to the Iron Chef champion, stating that soon he will be “better than fine”:
“He is adding more character to the face we know and love, and the most important news, his beard is intact.”
How sweet! We send love and light to Justin and hope he makes a wonderful recovery!