Boat accident survivor speaks out about horrifying experience

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Imagine having your arms ripped off and staying awake through it all. That's exactly what happened to 24-year-old Dustin Maxwell about six weeks ago.

Maxwell says he's glad to be alive after a boat motor severed both arms during a fishing trip near the Mississippi River.

"Its been a lot of changes. I'm adapting as well as I can," said Maxwell.

Maxwell and some friends were in their boat, on the way back to the dock, when they hit a sandbar. The impact threw him into the water and straight into the boat's motor.

Stuck in the middle of nowhere, his friends were quick to react. There was no cell service.

"They had to go knock on doors, and there are not a lot of doors to knock on," Maxwell said.

Maxwell says he's glad to be on the road to recovery. Though it hasn't been as easy journey, his family has been his rock.

"You learn to ask for help, and it's not really learning, it is mandatory. It is mandatory you have to have help," Maxwell said.

Life without arms and hands is still something new for Maxwell, who's learning to take nothing for granted. "Driving, really use your hands a lot more than you think you do."

Maxwell will spend the next few weeks in rehab. Then, he'll be fitted with prosthetic arms and hands.

Despite the obstacles, Maxwell plans to continue his training to become a firefighter.

It's a new life for a young man determined to make the best out of a tragic situation.

Click here to e-mail Justin Hanson.