Video: Man who amputated toes: It was “my only way out alive”

  1. Closed captioning of: Man who amputated toes: It was “my only way out alive”

    >> to cut off his own toes when his foot became trapped beneath a truck trailer . migu miguel almaguer has the story. and it's disturbing.

    >> reporter: it certainly is. john hunt was all along gathering wood when all of a sudden he would be con fronted with an unthinkable choice.

    >> my foot was right there.

    >> reporter: john hutt was standing on top of his truck unloading his rear trailer when it happened. scl.

    >> and it crushed right down on it.

    >> reporter: his right foot studly became penned beneath six tons of metal. alone for 30 meants, nobody could hear his calls for help. hutt couldn't move his foot. but he was able to reach his pocketknife. worried he'd blackout, me a take mattic decision. his pocketknife would become a saw.

    >> i thought, well, you better cut this thing off.

    >> reporter: hutt began to cut toe by toe.

    >> gritting my teeth and knowing i had to get it done.

    >> reporter: he sliced through bone, nerves and tendons.

    >> i he cut until i couldn't take it anymore and then i'd stop and take a breath or two.

    >> reporter: by the time he reached his last toe, the big toe , hutt 's sharp blade had gone dull.

    >> made me twitch a little bit, the nerves were still pretty alive.

    >> reporter: ten excruciating minutes later, it was all over. the am pewation was complete. what was left of his foot was finally freed.

    >> i think your toes are probably some of the most expendable.

    >> reporter: hobbleded, hutt was able to stop the bleeding. the 61-year-old wouldn't drive away until his boot was by his side.

    >> got high boot with my toe this is it got in the semi. and headed down out of that country.

    >> reporter: in his cab, hutt had a cell phone, but no service. he'd drive 25 miles before key call for help . at the hospital, his wife, har get would finally reach him. gr first words out of his mouth were, well, they're still gone.

    >> reporter: john hutt lost some of his foot, but none of his humor. doctors may not have been able to save his toes, but hutt is certain he saved his open life.

    >> you don't regret it one bit?

    >> not one bit. not with not one iota.

    >> reporter: it reminds folks of another man from colorado, aaron, who was strap pod 127 hours before he amputated his arm. they made a movie about him called 127 hours. john hutt 's wife joked with us maybe a movie should be made about her husband, this one called 30 minutes .

By
updated 8/31/2011 8:59:23 PM ET 2011-09-01T00:59:23

A 61-year-old retired logger feared he might die alone in a remote Colorado forest after his right foot was pinned under his 6-ton trailer. With few choices, he used a 3-inch pocket knife to cut off all five toes to get free.

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

Hutt then climbed into his semi tractor-trailer, his foot wrapped in a shirt, and began driving for help. Hutt's ordeal was first reported in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.

Hutt, who runs a crane business and does logging "for fun," had gone into the woods by himself on Aug. 19 to retrieve a pile of fallen aspen trees to cut for winter firewood. A trailer that was attached to his truck slipped and landed on his foot.

The wiry, 180-pound man told The Associated Press that he began cutting off his toes about 30 minutes later when he realized no one could hear his cries for help. Hutt said he couldn't reach his cell phone, which was in his truck and out of range anyway.

Hutt told his wife he would be back in several hours, but he did not know when she might start searching for him.

Image: John Hutt
William Woody  /  The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel via AP
John Hutt sits on his porch in Montrose, Colo., on Aug. 30, holding the pocketknife he used to cut off his toes.

"I cut off my boot to see my foot, and once I realized how bad it was, I started cutting off my toes," Hutt said.

Once he freed himself, Hutt stopped the bleeding with a shirt and drove toward his home outside Montrose, about 175 miles southwest of Denver. He called for help once he was in cell phone range. An ambulance met him on the way.

Hutt said authorities retrieved his severed toes and took them to the hospital, but doctors said the toes couldn't be re-attached because they were too badly mangled.

"They told me there was no hope for them. They said there was nothing to attach the toes to," he said.

Instead, doctors sewed his foot shut and wrapped it in bandages. Doctors warned him he may face more surgery.

'Please call, I cut my foot off'
Hutt, who has also worked as a miner, ran a saw mill, built log houses and grew up on a ranch, said his wife met him at the hospital and asked him if he was OK.

"There was no crying or whining," he said.

Image: Hutt shows how he cut off his toes
William Woody  /  The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel via AP
John Hutt demonstrates how he cut off his toes.

His wife, Margaret, said she didn't worry because she knew her husband might be gone for most of the day, but she started shaking when she got a message he left on her cell phone: "Please call, I cut my foot off."

She said she was only slightly relieved when she found out it was his toes.

Hospital spokeswoman Leann Tobin said Hutt was released on Aug. 22.

Hutt said he never thought about the 2003 ordeal of Aaron Ralston, who amputated his right arm after it was pinned beneath a boulder in a Utah canyon, until someone reminded him about it at the hospital.

Ralston's story became the subject of the movie "127 Hours."

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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