Man recovering in hospital after suffering double amputation in Myrtle Beach boat accident

Henry Owens Interview
Updated: Jun. 29, 2018 at 7:51 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Henry Owens is recovering in an Illinois hospital after a family vacation in Myrtle Beach changed his life forever.

A boating accident June 19 led to Owens' legs being amputated from above the knee. Now, the recovery process is one he's taking one day at a time.

"All I can remember is telling my wife to be calm, just give me oxygen," Owens said.

That's one of the last things Owens said he remembers before waking up in the hospital Thursday.

"My wife was next to me and she pretty much told me that I was dead for about four minutes," he said.

After coming out of a medically-induced coma, Owens was told that doctors had to cut both his legs off just above the knee.

"Still dealing with that, the fact that I don't have my knees because I coach football and basketball, so this is really tough for me," he said.

Ocean Watersports, the company Owens was using at the time of the accident, released a statement Friday.

Ocean Watersports is deeply saddened as a result of the injury to our customer. As active members of the Watersports Industry Association, we pride ourselves in our safety practices and safety record over the last 38 years. Our licensed captain and crew acted immediately to rescue our customer after the incident. We are keeping our customer and his family in our thoughts and prayers and wish him well.

"As soon as I fell over, the propeller should have stopped, so then I would have at least had an opportunity to have my legs," Owens said.

Officials with the United States Coast Guard said the boat involved in the accident was an uninspected passenger vessel. It must be regulated by a credentialed master but it is not routinely inspected and certified by the USCG.

Owens said he thinks tight regulations could prevent something like this from happening again. He is using the experience to help others who may be in a similar situation.

"I can tell them that, you know, you can do it; you just got to work hard at it," Owens said.

Owens credits his wife and two young sons as being his support system, and the ones who keep him going.

"The first thing they ask is, 'Dad, are you going be able to come see my games?' So that's the type of thing that really hurts. You know, I gotta get back out there for them," Owens said.

This accident is still under investigation by the Coast Guard.

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