OMAHA, Neb. (KETV) — When it comes to life-or-death situations, it’s tough to say what anyone would do to save their own life. But what about cutting off a limb?
That’s what a local farmer did after getting stuck in farming equipment.
“I was unloading corn into a bin, well, moving corn and taking it from one place to the other,” Kurt Kaser said.
The 63-year-old farmer from Pender, NE has been a grain farmer for more than 40 years.
But it was one simple mistake that could have cost his life.
“If I could have got by that first load, unloading, I think I would have thought of it or seen it, but I was in that routine like I used to do and I didn’t think of it,” he said.
He said it was like any other normal day. Kaser pulled in, got out of the truck and turned the corner.
“Stepped into the hopper in the little hole. It just sucked my leg in and I was trying to pull it out, but it kept pulling,” he said.
There was no one around to help and he knew no one would be there for a long time.
“When it first happened, I remember thinking, ‘This ain’t good. This is not good at all,'” Kaser said.
He couldn’t find his cellphone to call anyone and his was becoming more and more desperate by the minute.
“I thought, ‘How long am I going to stay conscious here?’ I did know what to expect. I felt it jerk me again and I thought it would grab me and pull me in further,” Kaser said.
He was left with only one option.
“I had my pocket knife in my pocket. I said, ‘The only way I’m getting out of here is to cut it off,’ so I just started sawing at it.”
He amputated his own leg.
“When I was cutting it, the nerve endings, I could feel, like, the ping every time I sawed around that pipe, and all at once it went and it let me go and I got the heck out of there,” Kaser said.
Then, he crawled 150 feet across the farm to the nearest phone to call for help.
“I stayed conscious all the way to the hospital. I remember being unloaded up here on Lifeflight,” he said.
He transferred to Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital-Lincoln Campus. There, he healed and went through physical and occupational therapy.
“He told me his goal, basically, ‘I need to get home and get back to what I was doing before,’ which was farming,” occupational therapist Dani Willey said.
Despite what happened, Willey said Kaser has had an extremely positive attitude.
“Pretty nonchalant about everything that happened, like it was no big deal,” Willey said.
“It is what it is, make the best of it is all you can do. It could of always been worse,” Kaser said.
On Friday, he was released from the rehabilitation center.
He will have to wait for the amputated leg to completely heal before getting fitted for a prosthetic leg.
Kaser said he has no doubt he will back farming in no time, but he wants others to learn from his mistake.
“I paid the price of being in a hurry and not paying attention, basically,” Kaser said.