A 23-year-old model and fashion editor is lucky to be alive after she accidentally walked into a small plane’s propeller on Saturday.
Lauren Scruggs, of Plano, Texas, was getting off a small private plane after looking at Christmas lights around the area when she walked into the moving propeller, Fox Dallas reports.
Scruggs’ left hand was severed, and she suffered eye, shoulder and head injuries. She is now recovering at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, according to ABC News.
The fashion blogger of Lolo.com (and celebrity interviewer — she interned on the set of “Gossip Girl”) underwent several surgeries over the weekend. The extent of her brain injury is unknown at this time, a family spokesman told ABC News.
Lauren’s parents spoke with “Good Morning America” on Tuesday. “Yesterday was a good day, there was a lot of really positive progress,” Lauren’s father Jeff told “GMA.” “They took out her tube in the afternoon. She didn’t speak right away … I said Lauren will you say ‘hi’ to Daddy, and she goes, ‘Hi.’ Later she told one of Cheryl’s sisters that she loves her. It’s so encouraging to us. She’s really uncomfortable as you can imagine.”
It’s unknown how Scruggs walked into the propeller, but her father thinks that she was going up to the cockpit to thank the pilot, saying, “She would have been grateful for him taking her up to see the Christmas lights around Dallas.”
Federal investigators on Saturday began looking into what caused a 74-year-old pilot to lose control of his World War II-era plane and crash next to a VIP section at a Reno air race in an accident that killed at least five people and sent dozens to the hospital.Source.
“It wasn’t quite vertical. It was at a very slight angle and because of that I think it probably saved a lot of people,” he said.
“Normally when you see an air crash, you see recognizable wreckage. There was nothing, just little bits of metal.”
Prior to Friday, 17 people had been killed at the National Championship Air Races since their start 1964, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported.
Two involved P-51s, the newspaper reported. In 1999, a P-51 disintegrated during a race, scattering debris and damaging a house. In 1994, one of the vintage craft crashed next to the east-west runway after engine failure sprayed the windshield with oil.
Organizers softened two of the curves pilots negotiate after crashes into nearby neighborhoods in 1998 and 1999. In 2007 and 2008, four pilots were killed at the races, prompting local school officials to consider barring student field trips to the event.
Friday’s crash was the first time spectators were killed or seriously injured, the Gazette-Journal reported.
Planes at the yearly event fly wingtip-to-wingtip as low as 50 feet off the sagebrush at speeds sometimes surpassing 500 mph. Pilots follow an oval path around pylons, with distances and speeds depending on the class of aircraft.
Mike Houghton, president and CEO of Reno Air Races, said at a news conference hours after the crash that there appeared to be a “problem with the aircraft that caused it to go out of control.” He did not elaborate.