SALT LAKE CITY — Family members and friends gathered Tuesday to create messages of encouragement to greet a University of Utah student critically injured in a bus crash in Ecuador.
Laramie Riggs survived a bus crash Saturday near the town on Alausí in the Chimborazo province of Ecuador. She had at least five broken ribs and two collapsed lungs.
Tuesday, she was off the ventilator and recovering from emergency back surgery to insert six screws and one plate for shattered and cracked vertebrae. Tubes are still stabilizing punctured lungs.
“It’s amazing how fast she’s recouping,” said her mother, Tammy Riggs. “She’s a miracle.”
Doctors in Quito said Laramie Riggs may be able to leave Ecuador in 48 hours.
Tuesday, her friends made floral arrangements with notes attached or written on the petals that will eventually fill her hospital room at Intermountain Medical Center.
"So that Laramie knows when she comes home how much she's loved and how much support she's going to have now and in the future,” said Amanda Newman, one of Laramie Riggs’ friends.
When she leaves Ecuador, Laramie Riggs will travel by Air Evac to Utah. If the medical team onboard thinks she needs to stop before that, they will take her to a hospital in Houston.
For now, all family and friends can do is share their thoughts and prayers.
"We're still thinking of her. We're happy for her,” cousin McKenzi Holmes said. “We know that she's alive. We can deal with anything else. She's alive."