ORANGEVILLE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Part of a young man’s leg was amputated when he became caught up in a boat propeller on Gun Lake Sunday afternoon.
Barry County Sheriff’s Office deputies told 24 Hour News 8 that the 20-year-old man was a passenger on a boat in one of the inlets on the lake’s southeast side. Around 5:15 p.m., he jumped off the boat without warning the person driving as the boat turned.
“The boat and the propeller came up on top of him,” Barry County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Bill Johnson said.
Two doctors from Henry Ford Hospital and from St. John Hospital in Detroit happened to be on the lake at the time. They jumped into action, swimming to the injured man and using a tourniquet to stop his bleeding.
“(He) could have bled to death very quickly” if not for the doctors’ help, Johnson said.
Still, he lost his leg just above the knee.
Emergency responders helped bring the man to the shore near the Citgo gas station along Marsh Road, where he was loaded into an ambulance and rushed to the hospital in serious condition.
Later Sunday, he was undergoing surgery at Spectrum Health Butterworth in Grand Rapids. He is expected to survive.
“He was talking, he was conscious, so hopefully he pulls through,” Johnson said.
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The man is from Howell, authorities said, and was set to start boot camp for the U.S. Marine Corps in a few weeks. His name was not released Sunday.
The driver of the boat is from Allegan. That person’s name was also not released.
Authorities say alcohol was involved and that charges are expected to be filed.
Deputies reminded people that it’s illegal to drive a boat while under the influence, and even though it’s legal for boat passengers to drink, they still have to be careful.
The sheriff’s department initially said that its crews patrolling the lake applied the tourniquet, but later revised that statement to indicate the doctors did so.
—24 Hour News 8’s Heather Walker contributed to this report.