First of all, I would like to apologize to anyone who saw the link to this blog and started reading without knowing what happened last Saturday. I was in a boating accident that resulted in amputating my right leg right above the knee. Here’s what happened:
Several of my friends and I were in Destin. FL to finish week 2 of our scuba diving certification class. We did two open water dives in the morning then came back to my good friends, jimmy and Maggie’s house. They live on this little cove on the water in shalimar . We spent the afternoon wakeboarding and jet skiing and working on our head stands on paddleboards. We had a crab boil for dinner which was deliscious!
Around 9:30pm, Tim and I decided to paddle board to the bridge (something all of us had done before- we were protected in the cove and there was usually very little boat traffic). We brought headlamps so people could see us. We paddled out. The water was calm and it was awesome! We layed on our boards and looked at the stars for a while. I looked up from that and realized we had drifted towards the edge of the cove. We were still in the cove just towards the edge. We paddled so that we were still heading to the bridge, but towards the shore/cove too. Then we saw a fishing boat. They were driving slow and had their lights on. I waved my headlamp at them so they would see us and they moved a little farther away. We kept paddling.
Then I looked up and all I saw was 3 green lights and 1 red light of a boat coming straight towards me and fast! I already had the headlamp in my hand so I waved it at them. Then I fully expected them to change course right or left. It took me a second to realize they we’re still coming right at me! I reacted and dove in the water to swim away. The boat hit me then. My body hit the bottom of the front of the boat and by the grace of God I was able to put my feet on the bottom of the boat and push off and swim down hard. The propeller of the boat went through my right leg then. God was with me. If I had not been able to swim down like that it would have been my whole body going through the propeller. The boat did not stop. (there’s still a police investigation looking for them)
I surfaced and looked down at my leg and saw bone sticking out and I thought my leg was gone completely but it was still hanging on by the hamstring. I was surprisingly calm and it was not painful at all – just numb. Tim, who was 20 feet away, swam to me surprisingly fast. He already had his shirt off. He asked me if I was ok- and I said “yeah”. He wrapped his shirt around my leg in the water and yelled at the fishing boat we had just seen to call 911. I waved my headlamp (still in my hand somehow) at them to show where we were. They came to us immediately. they lifted me into the boat and Tim finished the tourniquet on my leg with his shirt and a fishing net. The time from me surfacing in the water to laying in the boat with the tourniquet on was 2-4 min!
Michelle from the boat was talking to the dispatchers, and I was telling her all our information: “yes, 28 yr old female, snug harbor road”. There was a fire station nearby in shalimar and I head sirens by the time we got to the dock. Thankfully my leg was still just numb and I was aware of everything going on. They were trying to get helicopters to take me to pensacola’s trauma center but they said no for the low laying clouds. Instead we had a 45 min ambulance ride during which I got to know my two nurses: Tyler and destiny.
They said my hemoglobin level was 6. Normal range is 12-16, and they usually do transfusions for anything below 7. Around 4 is dying. Tim was amazing and the surgeons confirmed that he saved my life that day since the propeller cut through my bone, artery, muscle, tendon, and nerves. Our PA said he’s been boating/swimming that channel for 3 years and there’s no way I should have lived from that. God was with us!! Feel free to ask us any questions about the incident.