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Woman faces amputation after leg shredded by propeller

One of the ambulances on scene during the accident. Photo: Nicolas McElroy
One of the ambulances on scene during the accident. Photo: Nicolas McElroy

A WOMAN could lose her leg after it was shredded by a propeller in a serious boating accident on Wave Break Island.

The woman in her 40s was helping her husband moor their boat at the popular Gold Coast spot about 12.30pm Saturday when she became tangled.

She suffered "extensive" cuts and fractures to both legs, as well as a serious gash to her groin.

Paramedics said the woman was understood to be standing in waist-deep water and was trying to pull the boat into shore with a rope when she was struck by the engine propeller repeatedly.

It is understood another man helped to pull the distraught woman away from the blades.

The woman was taken to Gold Coast University Hospital. Picture Mike Batterham
The woman was taken to Gold Coast University Hospital. Picture Mike Batterham

Bystanders on the island rushed to help the seriously injured woman and raised the alarm with emergency services.

An off duty trainee police officer was also involved with the rescue, having secured his first aid training the day before.

"I spoke to her to calm her and to obtain relevant information for QAS," he told the Bulletin.

"Someone improvised two tourniquets just before I arrived. From there, I attended to their application and the wound packing."

Another witness said if it weren't for his friends applying a tourniquet to the woman's legs, the situation could have been much worse.

Wavebreak Island from the air. Photo: Michael Alexander @thesaltylens
Wavebreak Island from the air. Photo: Michael Alexander @thesaltylens

Queensland Ambulance Inspector Pat Berry said the woman remained conscious throughout the ordeal.

He said it was a confronting scene for VMR volunteers and witnesses.

"One (VMR) boat went straight out to her while another came to pick up the paramedics to take them out to the island," he said.

More than five ambulance crews were tasked to a Labrador boat ramp, where the woman was rushed, before being taken to the Gold Coast University Hospital.

Wavebreak Island Photo: Jan Warren
Wavebreak Island Photo: Jan Warren

"We are very grateful for the VMR's assistance and the bystanders provided very good first aid care," Insp Barry said.

"It would have been quite confronting for both the bystanders and paramedics.

"I can't commend them enough, it was a time-critical incident."

Insp Barry said the husband, who had been skippering the boat, was treated for shock.

The woman underwent extensive surgery on her legs, and remains in a serious but stable condition in hospital.

Topics:  amputation boat boating accident propeller accident severe injuries


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