Pinned Logger Cuts Off Toes to Free Himself

Trailer fell on his foot in remote forest
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 1, 2011 1:41 AM CDT
Pinned Colorado Logger John Hutt Cuts Off Toes to Free Himself
John Hutt demonstrates how he cut off his toes.   (AP Photo The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, William Woody)

(Newser) – When a trailer carrying six tons of machinery fell onto his right foot in a remote Colorado forest, John Hutt realized he didn't have 127 hours—or 127 minutes—to decide what to do. After cutting away his boot to survey the damage to his foot, the 61-year-old semi-retired logger deliberated for less than 30 minutes before deciding to use his 3-inch pocketknife to cut off all the toes on the foot and free himself. "What are my chances of people finding me? It wasn’t that hard of a decision. I felt trapped," he tells the Grand Journal Daily Sentinel. His phone was out of reach—and out of range.

"I thought, ‘All right, you might as well cut this thing off. It’s the only way out.’ If I pass out and go into shock, I’m done, and if I drop this pocketknife, I’m done,” he recalled thinking to himself. After freeing himself, which took up to 15 minutes, Hutt stopped the bleeding with his shirt and drove off. He bypassed the nearest clinic and headed for a hospital in the hope that his toes could be re-attached, but doctors told him they were too badly mangled. Hutt believes he made the right decision and the injury won't prevent him from working as a logger and a crane operator. "My son joked that I don’t have to worry about stubbing my toes anymore," he says. (Read more logging stories.)

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