A woman says she is struggling to adjust to her new reality after she was struck by a boat in Lake Michigan's "playpen" over the weekend, a collision that ultimately caused doctors to amputate both of her feet.
Lana Batochir was on an inflatable raft with several friends in the “playpen” on Saturday afternoon when a large boat reversed toward the device, injuring her and one other person.
Batochir suffered severe leg injuries, and doctors were forced to amputate both of her feet.
“It’s been only three days, and I’m in a recovery mode,” she told NBC 5’s Regina Waldroup.
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A GoFundMe has been set up to help pay for her medical treatment, raising nearly $125,000 since the collision occurred.
During the interview, Batochir recounted the horrific incident, which was captured on cell phone video. She was sucked under the boat, along with another individual, and was clinging to her husband when she was rescued and taken to shore.
“Everything can change,” she said. “I never expected that I would end up with no legs.”
She pleaded with boaters to use more caution and care while on the water, especially in heavily-used areas.
Those sentiments were echoed by Coast Guard Sgt. Rachel Ault, who said that safety cannot be an afterthought for boaters, especially with more individuals spending time on the water during the warmer summer weather.
“What we need is for people to be extra vigilant,” she said.
Chicago police and the Coast Guard are also investigating after another incident took place near the “playpen” on Wednesday night. Authorities say that a person went overboard on a boat near the Jardine water treatment facility, just north of Navy Pier, and another person was transported to shore after they fell unconscious on another vessel.
The “playpen” will be closed to boats from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday this weekend due to the Chicago Air and Water Show, but officials are hoping that boaters and swimmers will practice safe habits on the water.