Woman ravaged by boat propeller thanks her rescuers

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Erin plans on becoming a lawyer

TEMPE - She had everything to live for but a young college student's life was nearly cut short after the worst kind of boating accident imaginable.

It was supposed to be just another fun Sunday afternoon on Lake Pleasant but the weekend getaway turned tragic.

Erin McCormick admits, "Sometimes I think about it and I can't even believe this is my life, this is what happened. I don't remember being on the boat, what happened, how the accident happened."

Twenty-four-year-old McCormick is a walking, talking miracle. One minute she was floating on an inner tube and the next she was dragged into the back of a boat, and the propeller ravaged her arm and skull.

Chief of Plastic Surgery Pablo Prichard explains, "She sustained severe injuries to her face, neck, armnearly died multiple times."< /p>

She is alive today thanks to a coordinated effort by a team of first responders and the staff at John C. Lincoln Hospital.

Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Wayne Lupinski says, "The fact that they had been pulled from the water, they did CPR to get her back...very severe."

Maureen Shannon, from Peoria Fire, adds, "We had an ambulance there waiting, we had all our gear out, we intubated her immediately, we had an IV, she went immediately into the ambulance, ambulance right to the helicopter."

Dr. Prichard admits, "It allowed us to do what we were able to do, otherwise we wouldn't have even had a chance."

Doctors operated several times putting McCormick back together. " We did extensive reconstruction to her face, eyeball socket, cheekbones, upper jaw, lower jaw. Her lower jaw in itself was in ten different pieces," explains Dr. Prichard.

Wednesday McCormick was back at John C. Lincoln North, not as a patient but to say "Thanks."

Those who saved her life were honored Wednesday morning with medals of valor awarded by McCormick herself. She says, "It happened and it was a horrific accidentmyself and my family that was worried about medidn't feel like it was my time."

McCormick faces more surgeries down the road. She is still missing a collar bone and a couple of teeth but her spirit and her love of life are still intact.

She admits, "I'm lucky, very lucky to be here and I don't want to waste any time or any of the time that I have here. I want to make the most of every day."

McCormick took her L-SATS this past weekend and says she hopes to get into law school.