OMAHA, Neb. — Kurt Kaser has been a grain farmer for more than four decades, but last month, the 63-year-old Nebraska man “paid the price of being in a hurry and not paying attention,” he tells WMUR.
As he was unloading corn, his leg got caught in farm equipment and he couldn’t get it out.
“Stepped into the [corn] hopper in the little hole. It just sucked my leg in and I was trying to pull it out, but it kept pulling,” he says. He couldn’t reach his cellphone to call for help, and feared he would soon lose consciousness—or his leg would get pulled farther in.
Then, the gruesome solution: “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 the bottom part of his own leg, crawled 150 feet to the nearest phone, and remained conscious all the way to the hospital. He was released from a rehab center Friday, and now must wait for his leg to fully heal before he can be fitted for a prosthetic. He told doctors his goal is to get back to farming.
“It is what it is, make the best of it is all you can do,” he says. “I look at other people that were [at the hospital] and I still have most of my leg and hope to walk again soon,” he adds to NBC News. “There’s a lot of people in those places that’s in a wheelchair and they will never walk again. … You got to think of that.”