NEAR NORTH SIDE — A woman critically injured when a boat backed into her raft in the “Playpen” near Oak Street Beach on Saturday will need to have her lower legs amputated.
Lana Batochir, 34, launched a GoFundMe page this week to raise money for her significant medical expenses following the horrific weekend accident. Batochir, a mother of two, is hoping to raise $250,000 as she undergoes the amputations, more surgery, a prolonged hospital stay, then rehabilitation and physical therapy.
“It still feels like a nightmare,” Batochir wrote.
Batochir was with another woman on a raft in the “Playpen,” a protected part of Lake Michigan between Oak and Ohio street beaches, around 5:15 p.m. Saturday when a nearby boat malfunctioned while trying to set anchor, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which is investigating the incident.
The boat’s windlass stopped working properly and the boat began to drift, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. That’s when the boat’s 70-year-old captain tried to correct it by reversing, backing over the women’s floating raft.
The two women were sucked into the boat’s propwash and were severely injured, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
“Everything happened so fast,” Batochir wrote in her GoFundMe post. “We were all under his boat within seconds. The boat’s propeller struck me, leaving me with unimaginable pain. I thought I was dying.”
Batochir then began to drown until her husband pulled her out of the water, she said.
“My husband truly saved my life when pulled me out of the water to keep me from drowning,” Batochir said. “As I was getting pulled onto the boat, I glanced at my legs and realized that both my legs were gone.”
Batochir and the other woman were taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for treatment. The other woman suffered a serious injury to her hand.
Doctors have told Batochir her legs will have to be amputated below the knees and she must undergo targeted muscle reinnervation nerve surgery, she said.
“Anyone who knows me knows that I love to dance, love music, and enjoying life itself with family,” Batochir said. “My life has completely changed because of one unfortunate tragedy.”
Batochir said she has no health insurance, so she’s crowdfunding to cover her medical bills.
Still, Batochir said she feels “very lucky to be alive” and looks forward to being able to walk again with prosthetic legs.
“I thought I would die,” Batochir said. “I’m grateful I will be able to hug and kiss my kids, my husband, my family and my friends. I will get through this and come out stronger with my new lifestyle.
“I have so much to live for and will do my best to be positive and accept my circumstances, ” Batochir continued. ” … This tragedy is not going to break me!”
You can donate to Batochir’s fundraiser here.
The U.S. Coast Guard is looking for witnesses who saw the accident as the investigation continues with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, according to a press release. No charges or citations have been filed against the boat’s captain.
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