Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tough Enough

Sometimes, a life or death situation calls for extreme measures. That's when you find out if you're tough enough to do whatever it takes to survive. In the case of 61-year-old retired logger, Jon Hutt, it called for self-amputation.

Hutt drove his semi tractor-trailer alone into the Colorado forest to retrieve a load of felled trees to be used for winter firewood. That's when it happened — an accidental slip of the 6-ton trailer pinned his right foot by the toes.

He cried out for help, but there was no one to hear him deep in the forest. His cell phone was in the cab of the truck, so he couldn't call for help. But even if he could have reached the phone, there was no cell coverage in the area. He was truly stuck, with no one to help him, and no way to summon assistance. He had told his wife that he would be gone for several hours, but didn't know when she might start searching for him.

After struggling in vain for 30 minutes to free his foot, Hutt came to the conclusion that the only way for him to get loose was to cut off all five toes. With a 3-inch pocket knife, he cut away his boot until he could see his toes. Then went to work sawing them off, one toe at a time.

"It hurt so bad," he said. "I would cut for a while and then I had to rest."

Once he was free, Hutt wrapped the foot in a shirt to stop the bleeding, then hobbled to the truck and drove himself toward his home. When he got to an area where there was cell coverage, he called for help and an ambulance met him on his way home.

The lessons for us:

  • Don't go alone to engage in an activity that might result in an injury. Of course we never expect that to happen, but it does. It's wise to have a helper on hand. 
  • Use a personal locator beacon (PLB) or a SPOT Satellite Messenger. One press of the button will bring rescue. 

1 comment:

  1. He did okay, stop trying to save everyone.

    And always carry a pocket knife.