A northeastern Nebraska farmer is recovering after cutting off his own leg with a pocket knife to save himself from a piece of farm equipment he was caught in. Omaha television station KETV reported that 63-year-old Kurt Kaser was unloading corn last month when he got out of his truck and accidentally stepped on the grain hopper opening.
“When it first happened, I can remember telling myself, ‘This ain’t good. This is not good at all,'” Kaser told KETV.
An auger in the hopper caught Kaser’s leg, pulling it in and mangling it. An auger is a tube that uses a rotating shaft to suck the grain and push it through the tube to deposit in a bin.
Kaser, a grain farmer for over 40 years, said he just didn’t think of the hopper opening. “It just sucked my leg in, and I was trying to pull it out, and it kept pulling,” he told the station.
Kaser said he couldn’t pull his leg out and didn’t have his cellphone. There was no one around to help.
“I thought, ‘How long am I going to stay conscious here,’ you know? Because I didn’t know what to expect, and then I felt it jerk me again. I thought, ‘Well, I was going in. They’re going to grab me and pull me in further,'” he said.
So, he took his pocket knife out and sawed off his leg below the knee. “When I was cutting it, the nerve endings, I could feel them just ping every time when I’d start sawing around that pipe, and all at once it went and let me go, so I got the heck out of there,” Kaser said.
After he was freed, he crawled 150 feet to the nearest phone and was flown to a hospital. Kaser said he never lost consciousness.
On Friday, Kaser was released from a rehabilitation center. He will have to wait for the amputated leg to fully heal before getting a prosthetic leg.
“It is what it is,” Kaser said. “Make the best of it is all you can do. I mean, it coulda always been worse.”