OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — Two Oklahoma women are recovering from devastating injuries they suffered from a rogue wave while visiting a beach in Washington State — and during an ambulance crash afterward.
Lauren Perry said she and girlfriend Jenny Vu had planned to celebrate Perry’s 24th birthday on the day of the accident.
“I was so excited. Like this has to be perfect. We drove 2½ hours from our hotel to Ruby Beach,” said Perry.
Ruby Beach, a few hours west of Seattle, is beloved by photographers for its scenic shoreline. But a huge wave, sometimes called a rogue wave, caught the couple while they were packing up to leave.
“I happened just to turn my head and looked back, and as I did, that’s when the wave was coming,” said Perry.
“It was about five or six feet above my head. I don’t even know how … I just looked and saw it, and I looked at her, and I had time to say, ‘Go Jenny … run!’ I tried to push her forward just as it crashed.”
Perry and Vu told KFOR the rogue wave suddenly smashed them into the rocks. A large driftwood tree also added to the wave’s power.
“All I remember is just water covering my entire body, and I told myself to close my eyes and hold my breath,” said Vu. “And so when I did, a giant tree hit me, and I blacked out.”
Once the wave subsided, Perry stood up, but Vu was blacked out on the shore. Perry said she rushed to Vu and pulled her as far up the beach before falling herself.
“I remember just being so angry at my body that I couldn’t get up again,” said Perry. “I started screaming … ‘Get Jenny! Save Jenny! Where is Jenny? Is she OK? Is she alive?'”
Bystanders finally heard the cries and quickly rushed over. They were able to administer first aid while calling 911. The ambulances arrived and rushed Perry and Vu to a hospital in Forks.
The nurses at Forks Hospital tried to stabilize the girls before sending them to Harborview Hospital in Seattle. The two were put into the same ambulance for the 45-minute drive to the airport.
Halfway through, however, the ambulance blew a tire and crashed into a tree.
“They wreck into a tree. I guess that day, out of all days, it was the biggest storm in Seattle’s history,” said Perry. “They put flares around the ambulance, and the police cars and fire trucks surround us so the next ambulance can find us.”
Once arriving at the airport, the couple were loaded into two separate medical planes and flown to Harborview Hospital. Vu had ten fractured ribs, lacerations on her liver, internal bleeding, pulmonary contusion, a broken pelvis, and a concussion. Perry had internal bleeding, cuts on her liver, a fractured pelvis, and pulmonary contusion. Both women needed pelvis surgery.
Perry and Vu are now with family and recovering after spending time in a rehab facility. They’re facing medical bills and can’t return to work due to the severity of their injuries.
A friend has also organized a GoFundMe account to help cover their medical expenses.