(DALLAS) — Lauren Scruggs, the 23-year-old Texas woman who accidentally walked into an airplane propeller, is now not only walking her way through rehab, she is eating her favorite foods, picking out clothes to wear and even working out on an exercise bike following surgery to remove her left eye.
Scruggs, who was badly injured in the accident 17 days ago when a moving airplane propeller sliced through the left side of her face and shoulder and severed her left hand, is making a rapid recovery, according to her family. She walked into the propeller after viewing Christmas lights above Dallas on Dec. 3.
The model and fashion blogger is freely walking around the Dallas hospital where she is recovering, showering and dressing herself and riding a stationary bike.
The young woman’s steps forward after last week’s surgery to remove her left eye are providing hope for her family, who told reporters shortly after the accident that they didn’t think she’d survive the tragedy.
“She really shouldn’t be alive, so we feel blessed in that and although she has some challenges ahead, we’re lucky to have her,” her mother Cheryl Scruggs said.
Both Cheryl and Jeff Scruggs remain optimistic about their daughter’s recovery. In a web posting entitled “Miracle After Miracle, ” Cheryl Scruggs writes that Lauren is responding “stunningly” and that she “has a healthy appetite and is eating well.”
“Lo,” as her family and friends affectionately call her, had just landed with a girlfriend after viewing Christmas lights from above in a small prop plane piloted by a family friend. The young communications graduate, who had started a fashion website called Lolo and had worked in the wardrobe department of the TV show Gossip Girl, is thought to have turned to say a final goodbye to the pilot when the accident occurred.
The Federal Aviation Administration continues to investigate the accident. The pilot, Kurt Richmond of Frisco, Texas, has not answered repeated requests for an interview. ABC News has learned that the Scruggs family does not blame Richmond for the accident.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio
Stephanie Claytor, CNN
Lorenzo Ferrigno and David Shortell, CNN
Jen Christensen, CNN
Andreas Preuss, CNN