A FARMER from Yorkshire has told of his miraculous escape after he was dragged into a potato harvester.
Father-of-three Darren Taylor suffered multiple injuries, losing his left leg, part of his right leg and the elbow in his left arm after slipping between the machine’s rollers as he checked it.
He fought for his life for 30 minutes as the machine threatened to drag his entire body inside it.
Mr Taylor, 44, described how he was “literally doing the splits”, as his arm and leg were swallowed by the machine with his other limbs still on the outside.
As he tried to move his right leg to relieve some of the pressure it also dropped in, this time up to the ankle.
He said: “It had just got my ankle and by now my left leg was up to my thigh.
“At this point I was waiting for it to chew my foot off and I could just have got the right leg out.
“I thought there was a chance it could take me right through but I just tried to hang on as best as I could.
“I looked down through the harvester and I thought an oil pipe had burst but when I got my bearings I could see it was my blood.
“If the pain scale was one to 10 then this was 20, it was horrible.
“I was just determined it wasn’t going to get me.
“I knew I was badly injured but I was fighting to struggle my way out of it. I had to stay awake to keep out of the machine.
“I was shouting ‘You’re not going to pull me through’.”
Mr Taylor, who has an arable and grass farm just outside York, was trapped for half an hour before the alarm was raised.
It took another two hours to free him and specialist engineers had to be called in to dismantle the machine in the horrific accident in October.
He was flown by air ambulance to Leeds General Infirmary where he spent eight days in an induced coma and a further three months being treated for his horrific injuries.
Now he has finally returned home to his farm to recover before further operations and fitting for his prosthetics on both legs.
The farmer is due to have a further operation this month to restore the use of his left hand and he hopes to learn to walk again with the aid of prostheses as soon as April.
Despite his injuries he hopes to be able to do some limited work on his farm soon after that and to drive a tractor again.
He said: “Now I have no left leg, a right leg with no foot or ankle and a a left arm that doesn’t work.
“I wish it hadn’t happened but the people around me and the people in Leeds General Infirmary have been that good the least thing I can do is be strong and appreciate what they have done for me.
“I’m still alive and there were moments when the situation might have been different.”
He has been supported through is ordeal by his wife 47-year-old wife Nicky, who helps out on the farm, and his children Olly, nine, Tia, 21 and Danielle, 27.
Official figures from the Health and Safety Executive show agriculture has one of the worst safety records of any major employment sector.
Fewer than three in every 200 people work on farms yet it is responsible for as many as one in five fatalties among workers each year.
Despite massive under-reporting of accidents, the HSE says the injury rate is twice that of the average, similar to that in the construction sector.