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Colorado mother warns about the dangers of jet skis after near-death experience

Colorado mother warns about the dangers of jet skis after near-death experience
Colorado mother warns about the dangers of jet skis after near-death experience 03:02

In some situations, a life jacket can mean life or death. That was the case for a woman in Aurora who had a near-death experience last summer on a jet ski.

With a warm Father's Day and Juneteenth weekend approaching, Cherry Creek State Park is expecting a huge crowd of up to 5,000 visitors. 


Park officials are anticipating an increase in people operating motorboats and watercraft, which is why they're issuing a warning about the importance of being cautious to prevent any major accidents.

A 25-year-old mother of two echoes that sentiment after she had a terrible experience on a Colorado lake. 

Brianna Cruz hopes her story will prevent others from having a traumatic experience like she did last year.

"I am, like, shaking," said Cruz.

Facing her fears, Cruz went back to the same place where her life was changed forever. 

"It is hard to be in a place where one minute you are good and the next you are fighting for your life," she said.

Last year, on the Fourth of July, she found herself in that place, one she thought she would never be in.

While riding jet skis with friends and family, another jet ski driver going 25 to 30 miles per hour crashed into her, causing her to black out.

"I was hurt, but I didn't realize anything," said Cruz.

Driven by the shock in her body, she was numb to the pain, but what she saw when she regained consciousness, she will never forget. 


"I remember seeing little red stuff in the water and I thought it was a fish, and then I looked really closely, and I was like, 'oh no, that's my leg,' and then it hit me like, 'oh yeah, that's my leg that is floating in the water,'" described Cruz.

The impact from the accident was so strong it cut her leg off, but her determination to live was stronger.

"It was only hanging by a tendon, and I was able somehow by the grace of God to get back on my jet ski and come back to land, because I knew I did not want to die on the water," said Cruz.

Cherry Creek State Park Manager Michelle Seubert says that so far this year, there has been an increase in visitation at the park and reservoir. Moreover, jet ski violations are also on the rise.


"We just want to make sure people are reminded of some of our safety requirements for any vessel, whether it is a jet ski, paddleboard, or kayak, and most importantly, wear your life jacket," said Seubert.

The scars on Cruz's leg serve as a daily reminder that the life jacket saved her life.

"Wear your life vest," said Cruz. "Because if I didn't wear my life vest, I wouldn't be here today to talk about my story."

Four surgeries later, pieces of metal and nails are holding her leg together. It took Cruz six months, a lot of physical therapy, and healing to be able to walk again.


"Traumatic things happen all the time, but it is not something that will stop you, you just have to keep going," said Cruz.

The brave and resilient survivor wants to be an example for her kids and others. She looks to follow her dream of becoming a cop one day.

Park officials also warn of a law that recently went into effect on June 1, 2024, that requires teens between the ages of 14 through 17 to take a boating safety course online before operating a motorboat in Colorado. 

Those without it could get a violation and face a fine of up to $100.

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