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This is how Chris and Kellie Kraft might describe their last vacation in the Bahamas.
The friends gathered at the stern, resting Kellie’s head on the top step of the swim ladder to keep her head and face out of the water.It’s a great way to kick back, relax and enjoy the company of good friends.“She’s happy to have her legs,” Chris says as he considers the boating accident that seriously injured his 53-year-old wife.Two other couples — Ray and Jennifer Green from Tallahassee and Mike and Carol Carter from Jacksonville — were seriously banged up as well, and Chris himself suffered a punctured lung and broke a shoulder bone.“Jennifer went over slightly to her left, and I went slightly to the left of Jennifer.Both of us went into the water and not onto rock.” “I turned her over and saw that the injuries were to (her) knees and elbow and surmised there might be the possibility of other injuries that were not apparent.“And when we hit it we kind of bounced off of it but Kellie went off the bow of the boat to the starboard side.”“When it happened, it knocked me out for 30, 40 seconds,” Chris said.
“We’re not quite sure how Kellie landed, but obviously it was on her knees and little bit (on her) head, and arm, and (she) was face-down in the water.”“Kellie ejected more straight on and the angle of the boat threw her onto those rocks, on her knees,” he said.
She had a cut above her right eyebrow and the coral had gouged a hole in her right arm.
Shock was setting in and she was passing in and out of consciousness.
They had to get her back into the boat — but carefully. That’s where I was at.”“I’m an old power boater and sail boater dating back to my teens, and all my powerboat and sailboat training, navigating and helmsmanship kicked in,” Ray remembered.
“This was all gone,” said Kellie, pointing at her knees. “I started barking orders and told the Carters to get on the VHF radio and to call mayday on Channel 16, marine radio.” Ray said Mike Carter jumped into the water with shirts and a towel and soon Kellie’s legs were wrapped up to stop the bleeding.
“They had to take a calf muscle and rebuild a leg for me. The only time I screamed was when I looked down and could see inside my arm; and my face, I hit the reef with my face, and had (my right eyebrow) split open.” “When we brought her around to the back of the boat and floated her up, cause we were worried about her back and neck, and I saw the legs, I thought she was missing one. The idea that the blood in the water could be attracting sharks was farthest from their minds.“None of the channel markers in that part of the Abacos are lit, so you’re basically in pitch black darkness.