POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) — A few weeks ago, Justin Firth was just going through the motions, working on a fence and operating a front loader, when suddenly, while moving some objects on the front loader, the tine broke off.
Seeing a flash, Justin was unaware of what had just happened, though he felt as he had been hit.
Down on a knee, the 43-year-old realized he had a tine running through his abdomen. A spike several inches in diameter and nearly four feet long was stuck through his back and had him pinned to the ground.
His co-workers immediately called for medical assistance.
When EMTs arrived they didn't have the tools to remove the tine from its base, 2,000 lbs of farm machinery. Luckily, the workers on site had some advanced tools and were able to detach the object using a cutting torch.
Firth remembers being put in the helicopter, but nothing for the next four days.
It took just over 30 minutes to fly him in from the site of the incident to Portneuf Medical Center.
He was in surgery for nearly four hours. A team of doctors was able to safely remove the tine from his body, a souvenir Firth plans to keep.
Doctors at Portneuf explained that the spear-shaped object had missed nearly all of his major organs and arteries. The edge of his spine was scraped but the contact is not expected to leave any lasting impact.
This wasn't Firth's first time in a serious situation. His wife told me that nearly 11 years ago, Firth was in a coma from complications associated with meningitis. It was after he woke up that they knew "he had a purpose here."
Firth, who is expected to make a "near full" recovery, may be released from the hospital as early as this afternoon.