A Las Vegas teacher lost her leg in a boating accident on Lake Mead when a wave knocked her into the water.
Leslie Burns, an English teacher at Foothill High School in Henderson, was reportedly boating with friends on Tuesday when she was overpowered by the wave and sucked underneath, her leg catching in the propeller.
“She suffered a lot of injuries, extensive damage,” Burns’s girlfriend, Helen Cha, told television station KTNV. “I’m just trying to be there for her, support her, and help her in any way I can.”
A GoFundMe page created by Cha detailed the accident to which an off-duty nurse and firefighter paramedic, also boating in the area, responded. They quickly applied a tourniquet to Burns’s right leg, and stayed with her until she was flown to University Medical Center of Southern Nevada. Due to the severity of the injuries, doctors were forced to amputate her lower right leg.
On GoFundMe, Cha wrote that Burns is hospitalized but in “good spirits.” However, the recovery will take time.
“As it stands, Leslie has a daunting road ahead, including another surgery, an arduous recovery and rehabilitation process, a lengthy work absence, and permanent life changes, including costly prosthetics and eventually learning how to walk again,” wrote Cha.
“...Those of you that know Leslie on a personal level, know how wonderful and loving she is. If you are able to help us rally behind this wonderful sarcastic and loving person, please do...”
On Friday, Cha took to Facebook to provide an update on Burns, who did “awesome” during her amputation surgery. Along with a picture of Burns giving a thumbs-up to the camera, Cha shared that she was moved from the ICU unit and into a private room. Burns will undergo another surgery on Saturday.
“If everything looks okay, then the trauma team will clean and close up her wounds,” Cha wrote. “She wants me to thank everyone for their calls, texts, love, and prayers. I'll keep everyone updated on her status and her hospital bills.”
The GoFundMe, which had 336 donors in just one day, has raised more than $28,000 of its $35,000 goal.
A representative of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area says similar accidents happen “a few times a year.”
“We really want to make sure we’re not losing anybody here on the lake," Chelsea Kennedy, a public affairs specialist at the lake, told KTNV. "There’s many things that can go wrong. You can get hit by a propeller or you can go underwater and get in above your head and drown. The most important thing in that situation is not to be in the water with the engine running."
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