SOPHIA, N.C. — A Triad man escaped from the brink of death after his personal watercraft accident on the South Carolina coast nearly a month ago.
“I’m just glad to be alive,” Kyle Hollingsworth said.
Kyle was on Bird’s Island celebrating the Fourth of July with his family. He decided to take his new yellow and black Sea-Doo out on the waves, not knowing he wouldn’t come back the same way he left.
“Typically, I try to get as high as I can, I couldn’t tell you how high I went but I was having a good time and I’ve always been an adrenaline junkie and so I’ve always lived for stuff like that,” Kyle said.
He says he’s a daredevil at heart and has years of experience, riding jet skis and watercraft like Sea-Doos since he was a little boy. But an accident happened on the water where he had to be rescued.
A good Samaritan noticed Kyle’s unconscious body floating in the water.
“He took dead weight out of the water and picked me up and took me to the nearest boat to help rescue me,” Kyle said.
Just a few hundred yards away were two South Carolina wildlife officers who saw what was happening and rushed over to his aid.
“We saw Kyle at his worst, pulled him into the boat, he was unresponsive, he had blood coming out of both of his ears, blood coming out of his nose,” Wildlife Officer Tommy Buchannon said.
Kyle was airlifted to the hospital. He suffered from a traumatic brain injury and spent the next eight days in an induced coma. Doctors were unsure of what his outcome would be. His family was right by his bedside believing he would pull through.
“We fully expected that fifth day to remove that sedation and Kyle wake up and that just didn’t happen that day,” said Vonda Hollingsworth, Kyle’s mother.
On the eighth day of the coma, his mom asked him to squeeze her hand and he did just that.
“I was holding his hand like this and he took his fingers and interlaced them with mine and it felt like he was breathing life into me,” Hollingsworth said.
Four days later, Kyle was discharged from ICU. It was a miracle on the coast this family says has given them a new outlook on life.
Kyle stays in touch with the officers who helped rescue him.
“We both felt a connection to Kyle that we haven’t been able to feel with any other person because we were able to watch Kyle go from the worst moment in his life to the best moment and the best moment was him walking out of the hospital,” Buchannon said.
So many of his family, friends and people in the community rallied around him, through making T-shirts, bracelets and hanging green (Kyle’s favorite color) ribbons throughout the town.
“I’ll tell ya that prayer works. Our medicine does not do what has been done for Kyle, that is God,” Hollingsworth said.
“You only get one life and you need to take care of yourself. I’ve always been a daredevil and that’s just no doubt about it but I will probably take it a little bit easier now,” Kyle said.
Kyle isn’t able to make facial expressions because of the brain injury, but besides that, he’s doing well and taking it day by day.
He plans to sell his Sea-Doo in the time being.