“This tragedy will not break me”

NEAR THE NORTH SIDE – A woman who was seriously injured when a boat backed into her raft in the “park” near Oak Street Beach on Saturday will have her lower legs amputated.

Lana Batochir, 34, launched a GoFundMe page this week to raise money for his significant medical expenses following the horrible accident of the weekend. Batochir, a mother of two, hopes to raise $250,000 as she endures amputations, more surgeries, an extended 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 Street and Ohio beaches, around 5:15 p.m. Saturday when a nearby boat malfunctioned trying to throw the ‘anchor, according to the Illinois Dept. Natural Resources, who 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. It was then that the 70-year-old captain of the boat tried to correct him by backing up, backing onto the women’s floating raft.

Both women were sucked into the boat’s propwash and were seriously injured, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

“It all happened so fast,” Batochir wrote in his GoFundMe post. “We were all under his boat within seconds. The boat’s propeller hit me, leaving me in 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 really saved my life when he pulled me out of the water to prevent me from drowning,” Batochir said. “As I was being pulled on the boat, I looked down at my legs and realized both of my legs were missing.”

Batochir and the other woman were taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for treatment. The other woman was seriously injured in the hand.

Doctors have told Batochir that her legs will need to be amputated below the knees and that she will need to undergo targeted muscle reinnervation nerve surgery, she said.

“Anyone who knows me knows that I love to dance, love music and enjoy family life,” Batochir said. “My life has completely changed due to an unfortunate tragedy.”

Batochir said she has no health insurance, so she uses crowdfunding to cover her medical expenses.

Still, Batochir said she felt “very lucky to be alive” and looked forward to being able to walk again with prosthetic legs.

“I thought I was going to die,” Batochir said. “I’m grateful to be able to hug and kiss my kids, my husband, my family and my friends. I’m going to get through this and come out stronger with my new lifestyle.

“I have so much to live for and I will do my best to be positive and accept my situation,” 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 crash as the investigation continues with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, according to a news release. No charges or citations have been filed against the captain of the boat.

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