• Witnesses describe "terrible" scene as 19-year-old woman gouges eyeballs out.
  • Police believe woman was high on drugs at the time.

A suspected drug addict was taken to hospital after she gouged her own eyes out in front of a church in South Carolina.

Emergency services were called after the woman was seen holding her eyes outside the South Main Chapel and Recovery Center in Anderson.

The 19-year-old, who has not been identified, could be heard screaming for help before attempting to fend off anyone who came to her assistance, including police officers and paramedics.

She was eventually forced onto a stretcher and flown to a nearby hospital via helicopter, reports WYFF News 4.

Elizabeth Hiott was working inside South Main Chapel and Mercy Center at the time of the incident. She said: "It was across the street, and I could see blood, and could hear her screaming, and I realised something was wrong. Something was terribly wrong.

"I immediately called 911 and it almost felt like the 911 dispatcher didn't even believe me. That's how crazy it was."

She added: "When I got close enough and they were able to get her stabilised and on a stretcher, I realised then that it was terrible and that she had done something that's going to traumatise her life forever."

The woman was believed to have attended services at the church in the past but was not a regular attendee.