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A 50 m.p.h. drop
That plot twist in Kaitlyn’s life story started with another typical outing for teenagers. June 21, 2007, was to be a fun day at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville, Ky. Kaitlyn’s parents, Randy and Monique Lasitter, were just starting to let the 13-year-old do things on her own and dropped her off at the park with a group of friends. Kaitlyn met Arin for the first time that day, but the two would become best friends after what happened next.
The two decided to ride the Superman Tower of Power, which lifted passengers 177 feet into the air before dropping them straight down at speeds up to 50 m.p.h. The girls rode once and decided to go a second time since the line was short.
At first, Kaitlyn recalled, the ride seemed normal as the chair slowly ascended up the tower, but it began to jerk and make noises and she could smell smoke.
“We started screaming anything to get people’s attention—‘Help,’ ‘We’re going to die,’ curse words—anything to get people to turn around,” Kaitlyn said. A crowd began to gather, but the ride continued.
Then a cable fell, splitting Kaitlyn’s lip and bloodying her nose, scratching her arms and legs and wrapping around her neck and shoulders.
Normally, when the ride reaches the top of the tower, there is a thrilling pause as passengers wait for the drop. Instead of counting down to an exhilarating ride, Kaitlyn said she counted down to her death.
“I covered my face so nothing got hurt, but I looked down at my thighs and saw red and watched the cables slide down my legs. I felt a burning sensation and then couldn’t feel my legs. I was so scared, and it was the absolute worst feeling because I couldn’t control anything that was happening,” Kaitlyn said.
During the drop, the errant cables were pulled taut by the dizzying plunge of the ride and cut through Kaitlyn’s lower legs, severing both feet.
When the ride stopped at the bottom, Kaitlyn checked that her friends were safe before asking about her own injuries.
Arin, who had a bump on the head and a few scratches, said Kaitlyn was eerily calm as they waited to be released from their seats.
“She hardly bled at all. She was calm and wasn’t crying. She just said ‘Please don’t leave me,’” Arin recalled.
“I kept saying to them ‘I just want to walk home. Please tell the guys to unlatch me. I want to go home.’ But I knew that I didn’t have legs,” Kaitlyn said.
Kaitlyn’s friends gave her parents’ phone number to a stranger at the park. Monique answered, and although Randy was in the shower, the caller insisted on talking to him. After confirming Kaitlyn had red hair and was at the amusement park, he delivered the news.
“It’s just not what I expected,” Randy recalled. “I wondered what kind of sick dream I was having. It was too weird. I didn’t want to tell Monique, and I just said ‘We’ve got to get to the hospital as quickly as possible.’”
They were able to see Kaitlyn about two hours later.
“I remember seeing my parents for the first time and I said, ‘Mommy, I don’t have my feet, but I still have my eyes and I can see you and Daddy,’ and I remember her crying about that,” Kaitlyn said.
When she heard those words, Monique knew her daughter would make it.
“That was within the first five minutes of seeing her, and as a mother, I didn’t expect that. I knew right then and there that she was going to be positive,” Monique said. “That made me know that she’s realizing what she has at this point more than what she doesn’t have, and it just made it so much better for us to try to get through it.”
Monique tears up as she remembers this, but Kaitlyn is stoic. “I’ve told this story so many times, I can’t cry anymore,” Kaitlyn said.
26960666_8117700_2_1.jpg   An X-ray shows the intracate work required of surgeons to reatt
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Kaitlyn Lasitter, left, has her reattached foot examined by Mar
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