MIAMI (CBSMiami) — For Manuel Kianes Riviera, his hand are everything as an aircraft maintenance tech for JetBlue in his native Puerto Rico.
During Hurricane Maria, he was trying to secure the doors from strong winds when they flung open and sliced his index finger, exposing the bond and nerves.
The injuries were gruesome.
“Slammed the door right on my face. I could get out of the way but my finger didn’t and it cut it right on the spot,” said Riviera.
He rode out the storm, bleeding for more than 12 hours as his home flooded and his car was wiped out.
When it was all over, he walked two miles through destruction to find help only to make it to a hospital that also shut down because of Hurricane Maria.
He finally made contact with his employer.
“My first words were, ‘Don’t move I’m gonna call you right back.’ I made a couple quick calls to our company, our leadership put him on a flight to Fort Lauderdale and finally in Doctor Roberto Mikki’s hands at South Miami Hospital, who performed the emergency surgery that saved not only his finger but his arm, closing a wound that had been open for over three days,” said a Jet Blue official.
He didn’t get his finger back but he did get his livelihood.
“Thank you. You have a friend. You did more than healing my wound,” said Riviera.