Kurt Kaser, 63, worried a grain hopper would "pull me further"
A grain farmer for 40 years, Kurt Kaser knows his farming equipment well — but he recently battled with the tools for his life in a horrific accident that cost the man his leg.
Kaser, 63, told KETV that it all began when he was by himself on his farm in Pender, Nebraska, unloading corn into a bin. Kaser said he was so used to his routine that he didn’t think anything out of the ordinary would happen that day, but then he stepped out of his truck and accidentally into a grain hopper. The machine’s “little hole” presented a big problem.
“It just sucked my leg in and I was trying to pull it out, but it kept pulling,” Kaser told the news station. “I thought, ‘How long am I going to stay conscious here?’ I didn’t know what to expect. I felt it jerk me again and I thought it would grab me and pull me further.”
He added: “When it first happened, I remember thinking, ‘This ain’t good. This is not good at all.’ “
With no cell phone and no one around, Kaser said he didn’t know how long he’d be waiting for help, WTVD reported. With his left leg stuck in the hopper, he decided to take matters into his own hands.
“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 on it,” he said, according to WTVD. “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 crawled about 150 feet to the nearest phone, called for help and was taken to a hospital, KABC reported. After receiving treatment, Kaser soon began both occupational and physical therapy. His occupational therapist, Dani Willey, said Kaser — who admitted that he “paid the price” for not paying attention — now has his sights set on returning to his farm.
“He pretty much told me his goal was, ‘I need to get home and get back to what I was doing before,’ and his main goal was farming,” she recalled to KETV.
Kaser expects to get a prosthetic leg, and he’s remained optimistic after surviving the incident.
“It is what it is,” he told KETV. “Make the best of it is all you can do. It could have always been worse.”