WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A woman whose family owns the popular Flanigan's restaurant chain shared her story of survival Thursday after suffering a major head injury during an accident in the Bahamas.
Over the summer, Annie Flanigan, 23, rode her bike off an embankment during a stormy night on Walker's Cay.
"I think I was just disoriented," Flanigan said. "It was night, and I went right off the cliff, and I was on an electric bicycle."
A group of good Samaritans quickly tended to Flanigan, including securing her body on a wooden plank from a nearby construction site.
Cam Conrad, a nurse who specializes in anesthesia at St. Mary's Medical Center was on vacation with his family at a nearby island at the time of the incident.
"There was a knock on the door," Conrad said. "[They said], 'Somebody got hurt, hurt her head real bad, can you help us?'"
He hopped on a boat in the dark of night to find Flanigan and described the situation as "nightmare stuff."
Conrad quickly worked to keep her alive.
"I got some lights set up, started some IVs, some basic resuscitation stuff, made sure she was doing OK, oxygen, cleared her airway," Conrad said.
A U.S. Coast Guard rescue team responded and arrived at the island to take her to West Palm Beach for treatment.
"The accident happened around 11 p.m., I was told, and we got there a little after 2 a.m., so, a lot of time had passed, and it could have gone any number of ways," U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Landon Klopfenstein said.
He and his crew flew Flanigan to St. Mary's Medical Center.
"I'm so thankful for everyone involved, and it's a miracle," Flanigan said Thursday outside St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach.
Flanigan suffered a major head injury that left her with partial memory and hearing loss, along with the need for speech and physical therapy.
"To start, it was learning how to walk again. Learning how to swallow. Learning how to eat hard food. Every day was another milestone," Flanigan said.
Dr. Robert Borrego, a trauma surgeon at St. Mary's Medical Center who treated her, said Flanigan is a resilient woman.
"Anne Flannigan has an incredible will, determination," Borrego said. "She is very strong and because of that she has survived incredible, incredible challenges."
Flanigan on Thursday said she plans to continue recovering in South Florida and hopes to eventually return to her life in the Bahamas.
"I love my life," Flanigan said. "I've just had this will to live."