Fire Fears Prompted Miner to Cut Off Arm
- Fire Fears Prompted Miner to Cut Off ArmMon Jun 30, 8:53 AM ET
CANBERRA (Reuters) - An Australian coal miner trapped deep underground by a fallen tractor severed his own arm with a box-cutting knife because he feared the tractor would explode into flames, newspapers said Monday.
Miner Colin Jones, 43, was in a stable condition in hospital Monday, two days after his tractor rolled over while he was working two miles underground at a mine about 93 miles north of Sydney.
Fearing an explosion from leaking fuel, a panicked Jones had begged a workmate to cut off his badly crushed right arm even though emergency rescuers had been alerted. The workmate refused so Jones used his own Stanley knife, or box-cutting knife.
"By the time the bloke had walked around to the other side of the front-end loader, Col had completely severed his arm," another unidentified colleague told The Sydney Morning Herald.
Police had released few details of the incident Sunday but the Herald quoted a psychologist as saying Jones' actions may have been influenced by the similar plight of U.S. mountaineer Aron Ralston.
Ralston cut off his arm with a pocketknife in May after he was pinned for five days by an 800-pound boulder.
Colleagues packed Jones's severed limb in a plastic bag and applied a tourniquet to the still-conscious miner and took him to the surface, where he was rushed by helicopter to hospital.
Surgeons were unable to reattach his badly crushed arm in an emergency operation. "He's in a stable condition," a spokeswoman for John Hunter Hospital said Monday.