MARION COUNTY, Fla. - A bizarre boating accident on Lake Weir has left a father of six fighting to make a full recovery.
It should have been a Sunday of boating with friends and family until things took a turn for the worse. On June 11, Jason Moore, of Ocala, found himself in the water dodging his own boat as it circled him after he hit a rogue wave.
"The wave pushed the boat up where the boat was going to tip over," Moore said. "And where I was positioned I knew that if I jumped out, that it may compensate and my weight may help compensate the boat. I had to make a split-second decision."
Moore said his daughter and friend were tubing while he drove the boat.
As he turned the boat around to pick up his daughter and friend when they fell off the tube, the boat hit a wave that nearly tipped it completely over.
A 5-year-old boy, who is a close family friend, was also on the boat with Moore.
"I was really concerned about the 5-year-old boy, that was my only concern," Moore said. "I knew that if the boat tipped over on him it could be really bad. So I jumped out to help the boat not tip over and it worked. The boat didn't tip."
Moore said the decrease of weight on the boat helped keep the boat from flipping and killing him and the boy. After the boat gained stability when Moore jumped off, it began circling him in the water.
That’s when Moore said he found himself face-to-face with the boat and had no other option but to go underwater to dodge the boat. The boat circled him twice and each time he went underwater. On the third circle, the propeller of the boat hit the right side of his body as he was trying to swim out of the boat’s path. His arm and leg were hit by the propeller.
The boy, who was still aboard, thought to turn the ignition off.
"The boat's continuing to go in circles, coming for me again, and the little boy turned the key off and saved my life, because it would have hit me again and probably killed me," Moore said.
The 5-year-old was not injured and Moore said they both saved each other’s lives that day.
"I think God gave him the power to get up and turn the key off," said Moore. "He found that little shiny key and turned it off. And the boat stopped."
Nearby boaters came to Moore’s rescue in the water. Moore's 9-year-old daughter, Abigail, was waiting nearby to find out if her dad was hurt.
"I was on a different boat crying, and I was wondering if my dad lost his leg, dying or if anything was happening," she said. "He's yelling help, people are coming up to him and trying to get him up."
When Moore got to shore, he was airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center where he thought his leg would be amputated due to the severity of his injuries. His ankle and arm were broken, he has a deep laceration in his leg and his tendon was torn from his elbow.
Moore said he cannot put any weight on his arm or leg and will need physical therapy for several months. He estimates he will not be able to return to work for another six months. Moore's family started a GoFundMe page to raise money to provide for his wife and six children while he can't work.
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