Visaya Hoffie lost her lower legs after a horrific subway accident in New York. Picture: Instagram
Visaya Hoffie lost her lower legs after a horrific subway accident in New York. Picture: Instagram

Aussie who lost legs in horror NYC accident contracts virus

An up-and-coming Brisbane artist who lost her legs in a freak New York subway accident in January finally returned home to Queensland last month - only to find out she brought the coronavirus with her.

Visaya Hoffie, 23, who miraculously survived being hit by a train in Manhattan on January 11, spent nearly four months at a New York Hospital recovering after her legs were amputated before finally making it back home, reports the New York Post.

But her weeks in the hospital, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread and more and more patients were admitted, put her through a second ordeal.

 

Visaya Hoffie at 14th Street subway station in New York where the accident occurred. Picture: Facebook
Visaya Hoffie at 14th Street subway station in New York where the accident occurred. Picture: Facebook

 

"The sound of coughing was in the air," Visaya's mother, Patricia Hoffie, told the ABC. "More and more people were actually walking around the wards with COVID."

Visaya's uncle, Tom, grew concerned back home in Brisbane.

"I was worried about them," he said. "I felt like it wasn't a matter of if they got the virus, but when."

Nonetheless, Visaya and her mother both tested negative for the deadly bug before leaving the hospital on April 11. Patricia Hoffie had arranged the trip for the two and a nurse who would accompany them - at a staggering cost of close to $100,000.

But while eating at the airport in Doha, Qatar, waiting for the final leg of the journey to Brisbane, Visaya made a troubling revelation.

 

The 23-year-old in the hot pink top that her mother Pat Hoffie said had alerted the second train driver that she was injured on the subway tracks. Picture: Facebook
The 23-year-old in the hot pink top that her mother Pat Hoffie said had alerted the second train driver that she was injured on the subway tracks. Picture: Facebook

 

The budding artist on the subway in New York. Picture: Instagram
The budding artist on the subway in New York. Picture: Instagram

"I can't taste a thing," she told her mother - one of the symptoms of the coronavirus.

She was rushed to Princess Alexandra Hospital when they arrived in Brisbane, where she tested positive for the virus. Visaya, whose symptoms remained mild, was placed in quarantine for two weeks, the ABC reported.

Patricia Hoffie, who was quarantined in a local hotel, remains in awe of her daughter's ability to bounce back after the lengthy ordeal.

"Every mother's going to tell you their kid's good, right?" she said. "But she's unbelievable. She's just so resilient, so funny, so open to taking on the next hurdle."

"I've managed because she's with me," she added. "She's in the world. The rest is mere detail."

Visaya reportedly tripped and fell on to the tracks and was run over by an oncoming New York City PATH train and all seven of its carriages.

 

Visaya Hoffie with her best friend, Wayan Preston, in New York City. Picture: Instagram
Visaya Hoffie with her best friend, Wayan Preston, in New York City. Picture: Instagram

 

She sustained critical injuries and had both lower legs amputated, but hit was later revealed she was only alive because a second train driver spotted her hot pink shirt as she lay injured on the subway tracks.

A New York Port Authority spokesman confirmed at the time that Visaya was struck in the early hours of January 11 at the 14th St station and suffered head and lower body injuries.

"It's difficult at the moment," Ms Hoffie said from her daughter's New York hospital bedside back in January.

"We are in the best possible medical home but we just have to put our heads together and work through it.

"We're in the middle of a very trying time."

 

Visaya Hoffie is now back home in Brisbane. Picture: Facebook
Visaya Hoffie is now back home in Brisbane. Picture: Facebook

 

Mrs Hoffie shared details of her daughter's injuries and posted a photo of her "taken hours before the accident" in a distinctive tie-dye top. "The bright pink colour of her top is what alerted the driver of the second train to the fact that someone was lying across the track," Ms Hoffie wrote on Facebook. "In the words of the investigating police, 'it's a miracle she survived.' "

Visaya suffered head and spinal wounds and other injuries.

She underwent a corrective amputation of her left leg - and soon after posted on her Instagram account with: "Yes, I'm becoming a TV show".

 

- with the New York Post

Originally published as Aussie who lost legs in horror NYC accident contracts virus



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