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 returning home.

Erica was playing with a jump rope in the back seat 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 Tuesday on NBC's "Today."

The rope caught on the car's axle and a loop of the rope tightened around the girl's wrist, slicing off her hand.

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

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 passer-by," Allison Rix said Tuesday, "and he stopped immediately and ran up to the car and had to assess the situation then — just like a superhero, I like to think of him — as he whipped out his belt and did a tourniquet" while she tried to call 911.

Rix said her cell phone got disconnected but another person who stopped was able to call emergency services.

Passer-by Pat Heller spotted Erica's hand lying on the street, and she and a resident directed traffic around it.

"I took some real deep breaths. I just kept telling myself 'This is a child's hand,"' Heller told the Mercury News.