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Strangers save woman after boat severs arm on Lake Travis

A woman lost her arm in a horrific boating accident on Lake Travis Saturday. Now she's thanking the strangers who helped save her life. (CBS Austin)

A woman lost her arm in a horrific boating accident on Lake Travis Saturday. Now she's thanking the strangers who helped save her life.

Every second together is a blessing for Kristina DeJesus and her husband Blas Barquin. Just 72 hours ago, DeJesus nearly lost her life on Lake Travis. She was at a bachelorette party when a boat propeller severed her right arm. She remembers hearing her best friend scream, "Her arm is floating in the water!"

"Immediately a stranger just jumped in and started helping me," explains DeJesus.

Bleeding profusely, the strangers took her to a nearby dock. There Travis County ESD 1 paramedics started working to save her life.

"I just kept saying, 'Tell my husband I love him. Tell my family I love them. My mom. Tell my sisters I love them,' and I told them that I was going to go and to not mourn my death and to celebrate my life," DeJesus says with tears streaming down her face.

On the helicopter ride to the hospital DeJesus -- an ICU nurse from New Jersey -- told herself to keep thinking. Keeping talking. Anything to stay alive.

"I just kept praying to God, and I was making promises with God and telling him, 'If you save my life I'll be a better person. I'll do this for you. I'll do that for you. Please, just keep me alive,'" she recalls.

Three days later, DeJesus is alive. She's feeling both gratitude and devastation.

"I just have to move on and accept that this is my new life now," she says.

"She's the strongest person I know and if anybody can get through this it's her," says her husband, Blas Barquin.

DeJesus has since met three of those strangers who helped save her life. "I told all of them I'm never going to forget it because I was going to die. I would've drowned if nobody jumped in the water. As much as my friends were trying to save me it was too far from the dock and I wouldn't have made it," she says.

Two of the men -- Lewis and Jason -- come from a military background and have training for traumatic events.

"It was like, fate, you know? It didn't seem that anybody else that was in the area really knew what to do, and when we got there we just kind of reacted," says Jason Roberts who used his boat to pick up DeJesus and take her to shore while Lewis applied pressure to her wound, kept her talking and called her husband.

Losing her arm hasn't sidelined any of DeJesus' plans. She says she'll keep being a nurse, a boxer, a wife and someday a mom.

"She's beautiful. She's my everything. Arm no arm. Face no face. It doesn't make her. It doesn't change her. We're going to do it together," says Barquin.

"I'm so sad about this arm, but I have to keep pushing because I was saved for a reason. I'm going to do great things," says Kristina.



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