A taxicab that swerved to avoid hitting a bike messenger struck a British tourist, severing her leg, before jumping a curb in busy midtown Manhattan, witnesses said.
People at the scene, including television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz, jumped into action -- one man took off his belt to make a tourniquet while a halal food cart vendor placed her severed leg on ice in a cooler.
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Witnesses said the cab was traveling uptown on Sixth Avenue when it swerved, apparently to avoid the bicyclist, and struck the woman, crossing at 49th Street. Police said she is 23 years old and was in critical condition, with one leg severed below the knee and injuries to the other leg.
"He hit the girl, she flew up in the air, her leg was severed right off ... so I just grabbed my belt, went over, lifted her up, put it on, held it," said David Justino, 44, a plumber working nearby.
Oz, a cardiothoracic surgeon whose studios are nearby, arrived on scene after the plumber applied the tourniquet.
The tourniquet "was very smart thinking," Oz said.
"They saved her life," he said.
Justino said the woman was conscious the entire time.
Police said the 40-year-old driver and the bicyclist, who suffered minor injuries, were given alcohol breath tests at the scene and neither tested positive, a law enforcement official told NBC 4 New York.
The driver told police he lost control and somehow ended up on the sidewalk.
The bike messenger told NBC 4 New York that moments before the crash, he told the driver to slow down, but the driver honked his horn and accelerated.
The messenger said he ended up getting hit by the driver and rolled up onto the hood of the car as the cab struck the woman.
--Shimon Prokupecz contributed to this story
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