Family of man hurt by boat propeller praises off-duty firefighter’s heroism

MIAMI (WSVN) - The family of a South Florida man gashed by a boat propeller over the weekend is praising the off-duty firefighter who came to his rescue as a hero.

Rosa Gonzalez, the aunt of victim Jonathan Cruz, could not hold back tears when she talked about Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Lt. Terrance Dolan.

“Thank you, thank you. You saved not only his life, you saved us, the family,” she said.

Gonzalez said Dolan was off duty when he rushed to the rescue after the frightening boating accident, which sent Cruz, 28, to the hospital.

“He gave him an IV. He was an angel,” she said.

Gonzalez said Cruz was helping a stranger out when their boat got stuck on a sandbar near Elliott Key in Biscayne National Park.

“He was having a good time. It was Father’s Day,” she said.

That’s when something went terribly wrong. According to family members, while Cruz was behind the boat, a young child hit the throttle, causing the propeller to injure the good Samaritan’s leg.

Cruz, who’s the father of 3-year-old twins, was flown to Ryder Trauma Center, where he has already undergone five surgeries in less than 36 hours.

“He’s very critical, but he’s stable right now,” said Gonzalez.

Cruz family said he is lucky to be alive, all because of Dolan’s quick actions. They said it’s unlikely he would have survived without the firefighter’s help.

“We can’t even imagine what it would be if he was not there,” said Gonzalez. “You know, his twins, his wife, the family that he’s got. He’s got such a huge loving family.”

Now they sit and wait, not knowing what comes next but praying for a miracle — and hoping one day they can meet and thank the man who kept their family whole.

“From the bottom of our hearts, the whole family, friends, we want to thank him. We can’t say enough,” said Gonzalez.

The family has set up a GoFundMe account to help cover costs while Cruz recovers. To donate, click here.

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