She is a beautiful model with the smarts and the ambition to run her own online fashion magazine. The future seemed limitless for Lauren Scruggs.
Whether interviewing stars like Gossip Girl's Chase Crawford or posing for the camera, the 23-year-old blonde from Plano, Texas lived every day to the fullest. She eagerly boarded a two-seat plane last Saturday to fly over Dallas and take in the dazzling Christmas lights below.
Soon after the plane carrying Scruggs returned to the airport, her whole life changed in the blink of an eye.
Scruggs got out of the plane while the propeller was still spinning. Her parents believe she turned back to thank the pilot, a personal friend of hers, and walked right into the propeller.
The propeller blade fractured Scrugg's skull and severed her left hand. Her mom, Cheryl Scruggs, told Good Morning America how she ran out onto the runway.
"I was just able to hold her. That's the toughest part of all, just seeing her laying there and waiting for the help," said Cheryl.
Flight instructor Robert Hadow told INSIDE EDITION, "Standard protocol is always to shut down the engine, wait for the [propeller] to stop, turn the switches off before exiting the small aircraft."
Scruggs has undergone extensive surgery. She may lose an eye, but her family is hopeful for a recovery.
"I asked her if she could hear me. If she can hear me to squeeze my hand, and she did," said Scruggs father Jeff.
Scruggs' parents say their daughter has the heart and soul to get through this ordeal. But the healing will take time.