A 23-year-old model was struck by an airplane propeller last week at a private airport. Lauren Scruggs had just exited the plane when the accident occurred. As a result of the catastrophic injuries she received, she has had her left hand amputated and has undergone several surgeries. She is currently listed in stable condition, though the long term affects of the incident are not yet known. The propeller hit her hand, shoulder and face and may have caused permanent injuries to her brain. She has been able to respond to voice commands and is able to move her arms and legs.
Aviation accidents involving small planes, like the one Ms. Scruggs was in, are more common than accidents involving major airlines. Still, the nature of her accident, a propeller strike, is very rare. Safety precautions demand that the pilot wait for the propeller to stop its motion before allowing passengers to exit the plane. It was dark at the time of the incident and Ms. Scruggs clearly did not see the danger she was walking into. With proper safety procedures and proper instructions from the pilot, an incident like this should never occur.
Ms. Scruggs faces a long and uncertain recovery process. The amputation of her left hand, as well as the scars she will bear, may be only the tip of the iceberg. Brain injuries are particularly difficult to treat and can have a profound impact on a person’s life. She is lucky to be alive, but the challenges confronting her will not be easy.
As with so many aviation accidents, this could have been prevented by following proper procedure. By not taking the necessary precautions, the pilot endangered this woman’s life and left her to deal with massive injuries. We wish Ms. Scruggs and her family all the best in her recovery from this terrible ordeal.