WEEKI WACHEE - A Weeki Wachee Springs mermaid was injured Thursday on the waters off Hernando Beach after she fell out of a pontoon boat and landed on the boat's propeller.
Samantha Maywell, of Brooksville, was injured in the leg by the propeller and the two other mermaids with her were not injured, according to John Athanason, public relations manager for the park.
Kevin Carroll, assistant fire chief with Hernando County Fire Rescue, said Maywell was on a pontoon boat out in the Gulf when she fell off the boat onto the spinning propeller.
"She had severe left leg damage from hitting the boat propeller," Carroll said, adding that those aboard the boat helped her back aboard and took her to shore. "She had a very critical injury and she was in critical condition, there's no doubt."
According to the incident report, Hernando County Fire Rescue received the emergency call at 4:32 p.m., and at 4:48 p.m. the pontoon boat carrying Maywell arrived at the Hernando Beach boat ramp, indicating they were about 15 minutes off-shore when the incident occurred.
Fire rescue treated Maywell at the boat ramp and transported her to Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point, Carroll said, and the incident will be investigated by either the Hernando County Sheriff's Office Marine Division or Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Calls made to FWC officers Friday revealed they were not currently investigating Maywell's injury and were unaware of the situation.
"Hopefully, God willing, she's doing well," Carroll said. "Certainly our prayers go up to her and her family that she recovers from this."
Athanason said he has been in contact with Maywell's family regarding her condition.
"I've been trying to keep in contact with her mother as much as possible," Athanason said, adding that he was made aware of the situation Thursday night. "I know it's not life-threatening."
According to Maywell's Weeki Wachee Springs profile page, her personal motto is: "Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one reached in life, but by the obstacles which he has overcome."