A South Florida man was reunited with his rescuer after his leg got stuck in a boat engine propeller.

It was nearly a year ago when Jonathan Cruz and his family were on a boat celebrating Father’s Day in Elliot Key.

He and his cousins were helping the people in the boat next to theirs get off of the sandbar when Cruz’s life was changed forever.

“I just remembered getting sucked in. Something just basically sucked me in,” said Cruz. “I remember holding onto the engine with this hand and then with this hand onto the boat, and I was just jumping, basically with this one trying to fight for my life.”

Unknown to Cruz, the boat’s throttle had been engaged.

His right leg ended up mangled by the engine’s boat propeller.

“I did think I was going to lose my leg, but I left it in God’s hands,” said Cruz.

Luckily for Cruz, off duty Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Lt. Terrance Dolan was in the area.

“I heard a loud scream,” said Dolan.

He grabbed his medical bag, called 911 and headed over to Cruz.

“Luckily, I had an IV, and I started an IV on him because I saw that he was in extreme shock,” said Dolan. “His color was very bad, and he wasn’t alert or oriented at all.”

Rescue crews airlifted Cruz to Jackson Memorial Hospital where he has since undergone over 30 surgeries.

Knowing the journey will not be easy, Cruz has put in countless hours into physical therapy to one day be able to walk again.

“He’s doing wonderfully. As you can see, he’s at home, he’s eating, he’s with his family, he’s going to therapy and recovery and making tremendous strides, but the process isn’t over,” said UHealth trauma surgeon Dr. Joyce Kaufman.

Cruz is confident he’ll be able to make a recovery with his family and doctors by his side.

“I was blessed to be here. That was the main thing with the leg, without a leg,” said Cruz. “It’s rough at first, but I think you adapt to that.”

Click here if you would like to contribute to the Cruz family’s GoFundMe account.

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