Skip to comments.Stepping back into life - One year after horrific accident, Bay Area girl is on her feet again
Posted on 05/10/2005 10:41:57 AM PDT by SmithL
Before an airplane's propeller nearly sliced her apart, lithe, brown- eyed Arianna Jimenez was a star on the Patriots, a Contra Costa County youth soccer team.
A year later, she faces her 13th birthday today knowing more surgeries are in store to minimize the 2 1/2-inch difference in the length of her legs. And years will pass before she can get back on any soccer field.
But Arianna finally stashed her crutches last month. And she's coming into her own.
"I feel braver," she said. "I know if I have survived this, I can deal with life. I have a good strength."
Through the early days in the hospital, the months in a wheelchair, the arduous hours of physical therapy and then her gradual return to school, sleepovers and washing the dinner dishes, Arianna has remained determined.
"She really has not complained," said Arianna's mother, Janeen Jimenez. "When she came home from the hospital, I'd have to ask her, 'Do you think it's time for another pain pill?' And she'd say, 'Yeah. ... Is that OK?' "
. . . Doctors say it was a miracle Arianna survived when a single-engine plane crashed on Interstate 680 in Pleasant Hill, slamming into the minivan in which she was riding home from a day at Muir Beach with family friends. The propeller tore through the van's roof and nearly amputated her left leg, leaving the thigh connected by only a few muscle fibers and the major nerve and artery.
Arianna conjured the terrifying scene:
"I heard a roar. Everything was going by slowly," she said. "I didn't feel the propeller slice my leg, but my arms were pelted with glass. That was the most painful thing at first. And I was trying to comfort my friend because she was really scared.
(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...
What a brave and inspiring youg woman. Good for her!
Sounds like one tough kid. Good for her.
There's a busy little airport right off 680 near Pleasant Hill in Concord. I assume the plane was heading there or coming from there. I suppose I'm amazed there haven't been more accidents like this.
And like she said in the article, if you can't trust a plane falling out of the sky on top of you, how can you trust a rock kicked up by your brother's skateboard??
She is indeed a testimony to life - As a parent I am so proud of the entire family!!
Just read the entire article, the plane was a rental from Buchanan Field (off 680 in Concord)....
> What is the probability of driving down the freeway and having your leg cut off by an airplane propellor?
One in.... um.... around six billion, I guess...
Prayers for her and her family.
"There's a busy little airport right off 680 near Pleasant Hill in Concord. I assume the plane was heading there or coming from there. I suppose I'm amazed there haven't been more accidents like this."
It was coming from there, and there HAVE been more accidents like this one near that location!!
Actually, if I recall the news stories from last year, the plane in this incident was a rental from somewhere in Colorado. It experienced mechanical difficulties while in California. The plane had been repaired by mechanics at the airport there in Concord. A man (who I believe had rented the aircraft), and his teen age son were in the process trying to fly the plane back to Colorado, or to give it a post-repair test flight prior to flying it back to Colorado (my memory is getting worse as I age - so someone please correct any details that I get wrong!!).
Either way, the plane lost power shortly after take off, just a few hundred feet above the ground, as it was crossing the 680 freeway. The pilot attempted to turn around, and re-land at the airport, but quickly realized that he didn't have enough altitude. The area around that airport is really built up, and the pilot had no choice but to attempt an emergency landing on the freeway. As he was trying to land the plane in a clear area in a traffic lane, he wound up unintentionally setting it down partially on top of a minivan driving on the freeway. One side of the plane "landed" on the minvan, and the still-spinning prop wound up slicing into the van's passenger comparment, injuring the girl.
As a result, the plane wound up on it's side, and skidding along the shoulder of the freeway until it came to a halt. The pilot and his son managed to kick open the upward-facing passenger door, and crawled out of the plane moments before it burst into flames, and was completely consumed. They were mostly unharmed. The young girl was the only major injury in the entire incident.
My heart goes out to this girl, and I pray she has a swift and complete recovery. Given what happened, things could have turned out MUCH worse for everyone involved, and I would like to think that the pilot did the best he could under VERY difficult circumstances.
I hope the mechanic who worked on that plane has good liability insurance!! He'll need it. As will the owner of the airplane rental company in Colorado. I think the girl's parents are suing everyone in sight (you can't blame them).
Interestingly, there is a move afoot to have this airport relocated further east, into more open countryside, and away from all of the urbanization that surrounds it. In addition to the 680 freeway, there is a shopping mall just off the departure end of the runway - a mall which also had a departing aircraft crash into it a few years back. Several people were killed in that incident.
However, the new airport has a lot of different interest groups lining up against it for various reasons (from pilots who like to park their planes close to home to environmentalists). So, I doubt anything will be done about the location of this airfield anytime soon.