Friday, July 2, 2010

Catch a Wave and You'lll be Sitting on Top of a Chair

Summer at the Jersey Shore usually comes with a dip in the ocean. It's refreshing, fun and potentially treacherous.

It left Paul Haynes a quadriplegic, and 21-year-old Madeline McNichol with a broken neck.

"I was in so much pain," said Madeline.

"I thought I was going to die," said Paul. He was just standing in waist deep water in Ocean City to cool off, when a powerful wave changed his life forever.

"I didn't think it had the strength that it did to pick me up because I'm 6-5 and I weigh 250 pounds. And believe me I was picked up like a rag doll and drove me straight into the ocean bottom," said Paul.


In an instant, this hard working New Jersey family man was paralyzed and just barely alive.

"He looked at me and I said it's going to be okay. Sorry and he rolled his eyes back like ya know, gee I don't know. It was pretty traumatic," said Jeanne Haynes, Paul's wife.

Paul survived and now depends on his wife and a wheelchair for everything.

"I didn't think it was possible," said Paul.

"The oceans a dangerous place," said Nancy McNichol, Madeline's mother. She's relieved her daughter is home and able to move, after the accident less than two weeks ago.

Every summer the family goes to Wildwood Crest. Madeline has dived into the ocean hundreds of times. This time her head slammed into a sandbar.

"The waves are rough. The water gets very shallow very quickly. The tides change. The sandbars come in and they go and it's not, it's not as safe," said Madeline. She knows she's very lucky.


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