A New York taxi driver involved in a crash that cost a British tourist her leg has said the accident was not his fault.
Mohammed Fasyal Himon said he was “very sorry” about the incident but blamed a cyclist who pounded on his car and yelled at him for causing the crash.
British tourist Sian Green, a fashion graduate from De Montfort University, in Leicester, who is understood to work for retailer Hugo Boss, was hit as she and a friend were seated on a fountain near the Rockefeller Centre on Tuesday.
Ms Green lost her lower left leg in the accident. One of her doctors said she is likely to regain use of the other with physiotherapy.
Fernando Mateo of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers joined Mr Himon to announce the creation of a fund to help Ms Green with medical expenses. They have raised 3,000 dollars (£1,900) so far.
The yellow cab mounted the kerb and ploughed into the 24-year-old as she was enjoying the start of a holiday break in the city with a female friend, having arrived in Manhattan on Monday.
Dr Spiros Frangos, a senior trauma surgeon at the hospital, said she was “fortunate” not to have suffered more serious injury.
Doctors have had to amputate Ms Green’s left leg below the knee while she has undergone treatment to wounds on her other leg.
Dr Frangos, Bellevue’s associate director of surgery and director of the surgical intensive care unit, shed more light on the severity of her injuries and said nothing could have been done to reattach her amputated limb despite the best efforts of medics.
“Ms Green had her left leg amputated below the knee as a result of the accident,” he said. “Given the condition of the lower leg, replantation was not an option.
“Her right leg sustained multiple deep lacerations which were also cleaned and repaired and will likely regain most functionality with time and physical therapy.
“She has been cared for by a highly trained trauma and surgical team and was fortunate to not have sustained other major injuries.”
He went on to praise Ms Green and her family.
“Ms Green has remained optimistic despite the difficult circumstances and is very fortunate to have such a loving and supportive family,” he said.
The surgeon was speaking after Ms Green’s parents Jason and Sonia, who dashed to their daughter’s bedside earlier this week, released a statement praising the aid and care their daughter had received.
“There are not enough words to express our gratitude to everyone who has helped our family during this difficult time,” they said.
“We would especially like to thank everyone at the initial scene of the accident, especially David Justino and Dr (Mehmet) Oz, (and) all the emergency services personnel at the scene who came to our daughter’s aid.”
Witnesses told reporters that 24-year-old Mohammad Himon’s cab swerved to avoid a bike messenger when it mounted the kerb at 49th Street and Sixth Avenue, before careering into Green.
Passers-by rushed to her aid, including a plumber who was working nearby and has been praised by medics for his “quick-thinking” after tying his tool belt around Miss Green’s leg to act as a tourniquet, stemming the blood loss.
A street vendor is said to have put the severed limb on ice, while Dr Oz, a celebrity doctor, also rushed to assist.
He had been filming for a television show near the accident scene in Midtown, Manhattan at about 11am.
Mr and Mrs Green, of New Parks, Leicester, also thanked Bellevue Hospital staff.
“Everyone we have come into contact with at the hospital has been more than helpful in ensuring our daughter is being well taken care of,” they said.
The statement also praised “the New York Police Department who have been at the hospital the entire time helping us, the staff at British Airways, who were amazing, and the staff at our hotel.
“(We also want to thank) all our friends and family for their expressions of care and concern.”