‘I just started sawing’: Nebraska farmer stuck in machine cuts off own leg with pocketknife

A Nebraska farmer is recovering after cutting off his own leg with a pocket knife to save himself from a piece of farm equipment he had become caught in. Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals

Nebraska farmer Kurt Kaser was moving grain into a bin last month when his foot slipped into a piece of farm equipment, a grain auger that has a large rotating screw blade in it.

Within seconds he knew he had a quick decision to make — cut off his own leg or die.

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Kaser, 63, was working alone on his corn, soybean and hog farm on April 19 when the accident happened, he told ABC News. He was filling grain into a silo and said he forgot the screen covering the auger was still missing.

“I stepped right in the damn thing. It grabbed ahold of me,” he told ABC News.

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“I can remember seeing it start and I go, ‘This ain’t good,'” Kaser said. “And then when my foot was in there banging around, I was trying to hold my leg, pulling it out, and I said, ‘This is not good.'”

He said he didn’t know how long he would be able to keep consciousness and he didn’t have a phone on him. But then he remembered he had a pocket knife.

File photo: grain auger. AP Photo/Seth Perlman

‘I just started sawing at it’

Kaser said he felt the auger jerk his leg even further and knew it would pull him in. Growing desperate by the seconds, the farmer said he was left with one option.

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He began to amputate his own leg with a knife, which he said had a 3-to-4-inch blade.

He told ABC News he doesn’t remember experiencing much pain and didn’t notice a lot of blood. But he said when he cut through the nerve endings, he felt a “ping.”

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“Adrenaline kicked in so much that I don’t know if it hurt or not,” he said.

Kaser then crawled about 150 feet to the nearest phone in order to call for help.

He was rushed to the hospital, where he spent weeks undergoing rehabilitation before returning home on May 10. He said he is now waiting to be fitted with a prosthetic limb.

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Kaser added that he’s trying to make the best of the situation, as “it could have been worse.”

He wants to go back to farming right away but is also warning others to learn from his mistakes. “I paid the price of being in a hurry and not paying attention, basically.”

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