Man cuts off arm to free himself from machine

CAMDEN, S.C. (AP) – A man whose hand got caught in a corn harvester cut off his own arm with a pocket knife after the machine started a brush fire.

“I just told myself, ‘I’m not going to die here,'” Sampson Parker said Monday on NBC’s “Today Show.”

“I just kept fighting, kept praying. And then when I did get loose, I jumped up running, I had blood squirting from my arm,” he said of the September incident. “It was pretty scary there for a while.”

Parker, a construction supervisor in Kershaw County about 20 miles east of Columbia, farms as a hobby.

When he tried to remove a cornstalk stuck in the rusty harvester, Parker’s hand became stuck.

“I went up with my hand, and the roller that takes the shucks off the corn had grabbed the glove and pulled my hand into the rollers,” he told WIS-TV in Columbia.

Parker called for help, but no one was around.

After about 90 minutes, his hand went numb. He jammed a rod into the machine and started cutting away his fingers, but the rod and machine sparked a fire. He used his free hand to fight the fire but knew he was in even more trouble.

“My skin was melting,” he said. “Like melting plastic.”

It was then that he cut off his arm to free himself. “I could feel the nerves as I was cutting my arm off,” he said.

Parker ran to his truck and drove to the front of his home about the time firefighter Doug Spinks passed by. Spinks wrapped Parker’s arm and called for help.

Parker said he is doing fine now and has tried to put the ordeal behind him.

“It really wasn’t the corn picker’s fault. It was my fault. It was just a mistake I made,” he said.