The parents of model and fashion blogger Lauren Scruggs said today that their daughter is responsive and making a slow recovery after she suffered severe injuries from accidentally walking into the propeller of a small plane.
Scruggs, from Plano, Texas, edits an online fashion magazine and had also worked in the wardrobe department of the TV show "Gossip Girl." The 23-year-old suffered horrific injuries including the loss of her hand Saturday night after had just finished riding in a single-engine plane to get an aerial view of Christmas lights with a friend.
The pilot had landed at a private airport north of Dallas when Scruggs exited the plane and walked directly into its propeller. The blades sliced the left side of her face and shoulder and severed her left hand. She is now stable at Parkland Hospital in Dallas.
"Yesterday was a good day, there was a lot of really positive progress," Jeff Scruggs, Lauren's father, said on "Good Morning America" Tuesday. "They took out her tube in the afternoon. She didn't speak right away … I said Lauren will you say 'hi' to Daddy, and she goes, 'hi.' Later she told one of Cheryl's sisters that she loves her. It's so encouraging to us. She's really uncomfortable as you can imagine."
Lauren underwent several surgeries over the weekend and is now in stable condition. The extent of her brain injury is still not known, family spokesperson Janee Harrell told ABCNews.com.
Scruggs, who started a fashion website Lolo, was not drinking at the time of the accident, according to her parents. While it was dark out, investigators aren't sure why Scruggs didn't see the propeller. Her family thinks she may have turned back to thank the pilot when she walked right into it.
"It was a really horrible accident," Jeff Sruggs said on "GMA." "I've been told she got out of the plane afterwards. And I'm guessing she went up to thank the pilot. She would have been grateful for him taking her up to see the Christmas lights around Dallas."
Cheryl Scruggs, Lauren's mother, told "GMA" that she was at the small airport at the time of the accident.
"I was inside, and someone came in and told me she had gotten hit," she said, holding back tears. "I was there until the care flight got there. I was just able to hold her and … that's the toughest part of it all, just seeing her waiting there and waiting for the help. All I could do was tell her that I love her."
ABC News aviation consultant John Nance said incidents such as Scruggs' are extremely rare and underscore the need for pilots to be especially clear in issuing safety directions.
"It sounds like this is a combination of a bad procedure by the pilot and the passenger not properly realizing her proximity," Nance said. "One of the things I'd have to look at is why in the world a pilot permitted a passenger to board or deboard while a propeller was turning."
For her fashion blog, Scruggs has interviewed celebrities and taken her followers behind the scenes of "Gossip Girl." Her family says they believe will only be a matter of time before this young communications major is back doing what she loves.
"They're telling us it's going to be a long recovery," Jeff Scruggs said. "Obviously she's had a lot of trauma to her head, and she lost her left hand and her left eye is questionable. We're praying she'll regain her sight."
"What she'd tell you is her relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important thing in her life. Even though she cannot talk I know she's relying on Jesus right now."