LOS GATOS, Calif. - A 6-year-old girl is recovering after surgeons reattached her left hand, severed when it was caught in a loop of jump rope that had snagged on the axle of her mother's car.

Erica Rix underwent 10 hours of surgery after the accident in early September and spent nine days in intensive care before going home.

She was playing with a jump rope in the backseat of her mother's car and let one end of the rope out the window to flutter in the wind.

"I wanted to see it go up and down because I thought I was going to fly," she said yesterday on NBC's



The rope caught on the axle and a loop of the rope tightened around the girl's wrist.

"She was screaming and screaming," her mother, Allison Rix, said on


, "and so I got out of the car and at her window that was just cracked about that much, the remaining part of her hand . . . most of it was gone."

Passing motorist Jim Bailey of Saratoga stopped and made a tourniquet to stop the bleeding, the San Jose Mercury News said.

"I was trying to wave down a passerby," Allison Rix said yesterday, "and he stopped immediately and ran up to the car and had to assess the situation then - just like a superhero ... he whipped out his belt and did a tourniquet."

Passerby Pat Heller saw Erica's hand lying on the street, and she and a resident directed traffic around it. "I took some real deep breaths," Heller told the News. "I just kept telling myself, 'This is a child's hand.' "