A Chicago woman said she thought she was “going to die” on Lake Michigan last weekend when the raft she was on was sucked underneath a passing vessel and its propeller severed both her feet.
Lana Batochir, 34, a married mom-of-two, was spending Saturday on the water in the so-called “Playpen” area of the lake with her friends when disaster struck.
Batochir and her companions were floating on a raft when a rental boat that was setting anchor nearby malfunctioned and began to drift, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.
That boat’s captain reversed the boat, causing it to suck in the floatie carrying Batochir and her pals. The woman’s husband was on another boat dragging the raft behind it, reported CBS News.
“Everything happened so fast. We were all under his boat within seconds,” Batochir wrote in the description of a GoFundMe campaign she launched this week.
Batochir said she felt “unimaginable pain” when the boat’s propeller struck her.
“I thought I was dying,” she recounted. “I fought for my life for seconds which felt like minutes. I began to drown, I couldn’t swim.”
Batochir said she managed to get her head above water, and from a distance she saw her husband’s panic-stricken eyes searching for her.
“I would never forget his face of pain,” the woman wrote. “We connected eyes, but I couldn’t stay up, I truly began to drown. I felt myself drifting down like an object, I knew I would die.”
Batochir said her husband saved her life when rushed to her side and pulled her out of the water.
“As I was getting pulled onto the boat I glanced at my legs and realized that both my legs were gone,” she recalled.
Chicago police marine officers who responded to the scene rescued Batochir’s 28-year-old friend who had part of her hands severed by the propeller.
Batochir wrote that she was scheduled to have a below-the-knee amputation on both legs and nerve surgery, followed by a lengthy rehabilitation period during which she’ll have to learn how to walk on prosthetic legs.
“Anyone who knows me knows that I love to dance, love music, and enjoying life itself with family,” the mom-of-two wrote. “My life has completely changed because of one unfortunate tragedy.”
But she added on a more optimistic note, “even though it feels like the worst thing that happened to me, I still feel very lucky to be alive.”
Batochir shared that she is “one of the many people who don’t have health insurance in this country,” and so she is seeking $250,000 to help cover her medical bills at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. As of Wednesday afternoon, more than $74,000 has been raised.
The incident has been deemed an accident, but the state Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police will investigate further and determine if the captain of the boat that struck the raft should face charges.