A Nebraska farmer used a pen knife to cut off his own leg after having gotten trapped in machinery, BBC News reports.
Kurt Kaser, 63, was working alone on his farm — back in April — when the accident occurred. He had been moving grain from one silo to another when he slipped and fell, getting trapped by an auger. An auger, for those unfamiliar with agricultural machinery, is a tube with a device that resembles a giant screw, one used to elevate or lower grain.
Warning: The next paragraphs contain content that may be disturbing to some readers.
Kaser had no choice but to watch as the machine tore off his foot, and mangled up his leg.
“I didn’t know what to do. I was afraid it was going to suck me in more. I about gave up and let it do what it was going to do.”
However, as The Omaha World-Herald reports, instead of accepting death, Kaser pulled out a 3-inch pocketknife and sawed off what remained of his mangled limb. He made the cuts just below the knee, slicing through about an inch or two of tendon and muscle.
“The bone stuck out down to my ankle. That’s what I was hanging onto as I was trying to get myself out.”
He was then able to crawl to help, eventually finding his son — who happened to be a member of the local rescue squad. Kurt’s son drove him to a nearby hospital. The farmer was later airlifted to Lincoln, where one of his daughters works as a trauma nurse. There, Kaser underwent emergency surgery.
'I didn't have no other choice,' Nebraska farmer Kurt Kaser tells me of his life-or-death decision to saw off his leg with a pocket knife when it became stuck in a grain auger – @ABC News – https://t.co/OMscYLqxKR
— Bill Hutchinson (@bill_hutchinson) May 14, 2019
Kaser spent a week at the hospital, and then two weeks at a nearby rehabilitation facility.
Despite what he’s been through, Kaser is keeping up a positive attitude about it. He says that he’s been in the rehab facility with people who will never walk again, so he’s counting his blessings.
As it turns out, Kaser had disabled a safety device on his auger before his accident. Had he not done so, this whole ordeal could have been prevented. He hopes that his story will remind other farmers that there are no shortcuts when it comes to agricultural safety.
“I was in a hurry and didn’t pay attention. Farmers, we’re all guilty of it.”
Kaser will soon be returning to his farm, and will eventually be fitted with a prosthetic. He believes that he will soon be able to walk, and farm, again.