An Alabama couple recalls their boat accident, which left the wife badly injured.

DESTIN — More than a week after crashing into a jetty near Destin, an Alabama woman remains hospitalized.

On Sept. 28, Scott and Tonya Nielson, who are Orange Beach residents, decided to take a day trip to Destin to visit Crab Island.

As evening approached, the pair decided to venture out into the Gulf to watch the sunset, Tonya said.

On their way back, things took a turn for the worst.

"It was pretty black ... I don't think we had a moon that (night)," said Tonya, who was driving their 29-foot Hydra Sport. "(I) realized that I just really couldn't see anything. ... Nothing was showing up on the chart plotter."

Nervous with the lack of visibility, she decided to stop periodically to shine the boat's light and look around. 

"Everything was going well," she said. "I did that probably six or seven times and about the last time I did that, as soon as we got on plane, we hit (the) jetty."

Tonya was immediately thrown into the steering wheel, fracturing some ribs, her sternum and areas of her spine.

At about the same time, her husband, who ended up on the cabin floor with minor injuries, jumped into action.

"I picked her up, and next thing you know water started coming in the cabin floor and it was just filling up fast," Scott said.  "I got life jackets and next thing you know the boat had flipped over."

While Tonya, who managed to grab her phone and call the U.S. Coast Guard, floated in the water, Scott went back to save their dog Cayden, a Yorkie who had also been on board.

After finding the pup and equipping him with a life jacket, the three floated in the water for about 15 minutes before being rescued by the Coast Guard, they said.

The couple was transported to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center, where Tonya remained as of Monday.

According to Scott, more than $10,000 of electronics and personal items were missing from their boat after it was retrieved from the Gulf.

"When I got (the boat) back, you couldn't even tell what kind of boat it is," Scott said. "Any help we can get in recovering our stuff would be greatly appreciated."