Well, this is terrifying: An Alabama man was dismantling a grenade last Friday when the device launched into his thigh, the Washington Post reports. Paramedics were called to assist, but no one knew quite how dangerous the grenade was. Though the man first visited a Walker County hospital, he was quickly escorted to the University of Alabama Hospital in Birmingham. The only problem: He wasn't permitted to enter for fear he would blow the place to smithereens, AL.com reports. Instead, the 62-year-old waited with two nervous paramedics in an ambulance 30 feet away. Nearly 200 miles away, explosive ordnance disposal technician Staff Sgt. David Mensink hung up the phone with police and hit the road with his EOD team.
When Mensink arrived to the hospital two hours later, he found the grenade had exposed the victim's femoral artery. "From what they were telling us, if he moved the right way it could go off and we could all die," a paramedic says. Finally, some eight hours after the victim arrived at the Birmingham hospital, a doctor made an incision in the man's leg as a paramedic waited with a tourniquet in case his artery was nicked, an Army statement explains. Mensink then pulled out the device—a 40mm M713 red smoke grenade the size of a half-dollar coin, which could have been fatal if it detonated. "That was extremely heroic," an expert says. "Nobody knew this wasn't live. Removing it could have easily killed everyone there." The man will have no lasting damage. Meanwhile, Mensink, who's been on some 180 bomb technician missions, says this one "was definitely a first." (Read more US Army stories.)