Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says he has no plans to quit politics after fracturing his spine and breaking several ribs in a fall his wife thought would kill him.
The couple released a video on social media ahead of his return to work on Monday, describing how Mr Andrews slipped on stairs while getting ready for work at a Mornington Peninsula holiday rental on March 9.
“As I put my foot on to the first step. I knew I was in trouble. I didn’t really connect with the step it just slid straight off, I became airborne almost,” Mr Andrews says in the four-minute video.
“Then all I can hear is just this almighty crunch.
“When I heard the crunch, I knew. I thought this is serious, we’re in trouble here.”
Mr Andrews said he couldn’t call out to his wife because he couldn’t breathe.
“She comes and finds me a few moments later, it felt like an eternity,” he said.
Catherine Andrews recalled how she thought it was the end for her husband.
“It was awful because you were going blue, and we were looking at each other and I was thinking, you are going to die here in Sorrento at this holiday house,” she said in the video.
“You’re looking at me and you felt the same.”
The 48-year-old premier was taken to the Peninsula Private Hospital by ambulance before he was transferred to the Alfred Trauma Centre.
X-rays revealed he sustained an acute compression fracture of the T7 vertebra and broke several ribs.
According to government sources, he narrowly avoided permanent and “life-changing” spinal cord damage.
Mr Andrews was discharged on March 15 and has been recovering at home since.
In the video, the couple thank those involved in Mr Andrews’ recovery, including his personal protective detail who were among the first on the scene, paramedics, doctors, nurses and physios.
“There’s something very special about those people, they are the best of us,” Mr Andrews said.
“As painful, as difficult, as traumatic as it was, we’re very lucky.”
He also thanked the tens of thousands of Victorians who sent letters, cards, emails and messages wishing him well, describing it as the “best medicine”.
“When you have a traumatic moment in your life you kind of reassess things, you work out, you remind yourself of the things that are really really important,” Mr Andrews said.
“Family is important, but so too is delivering for every family, working hard for every single Victorian family. That’s the oath I swore. That’s the job I’ve got.”
He said he was “fit, strong and healthy” and reiterated his desire to stay on as premier and run at the next Victorian election in November 2022.
“I’m running and I’m running to win. There’s unfinished business and I’m determined to get it done,” Mr Andrews said.
The couple also made mention of the “vile” unfounded rumours circulating online since Mr Andrews’ fall, including that the incident occurred at the home of businessman Lindsay Fox.
No credible evidence has been presented to support the claim, which has been denied.
“Politics isn’t always like that,” Mr Andrews said, adding that one of the most touching messages he received was from former Victorian premier Ted Baillieu, who has also suffered a serious back injury.
The Liberal politician told Mr Andrews to heal properly before returning to work.
Acting Premier James Merlino confirmed Mr Andrews would take over at 10pm on Sunday.
“We all know what a long and painful recovery it is for anyone who’s suffered a serious back injury and Dan needed that time to fully recover,” he told reporters on Sunday.
“I’m delighted, the whole of cabinet, the government, is delighted that he’s back on his feet tomorrow.”