ROBBINSDALE, Minn. (KMSP) - A New Hope man, who was trapped under heavy machinery and submerged underwater for nearly an hour, is expressing his gratitude to the rescuers who saved his life.
Will Hamer is awaiting surgery for a broken pelvis and faces weeks of intensive recovery and rehab, but his spirits are high after his harrowing experience.
“I was so scared and I saw my brother, like a vision of my brother, him being like, ‘You can do this, you can do this,’” said Hamer.
Thinking of his brother who died two days prior, Hamer described from his hospital bed what it was like to be barely a half inch away from his own death.
“It crossed my mind,” said Hamer. “This is it.”
Wednesday, a tree trimmer toppled over an icy embankment next to a pond during a job in Rogers. Hamer says he was pinned and submerged with water up to his chin for 20 minutes as his boss from Gould Tree Service and the homeowner who hired them tried to get him free.
“I told him call 911, call 911, don’t try to use no jack to lift the lift up or you are going to shift it and hurt me more,” said Hamer.
First responders coordinated public works equipment and a tow truck to free the 45-year-old. Unable to talk, a representative on the scene from North Memorial asked if he was prepared for his arm to be amputated. Hamer credits Rogers Police Chief Jeffrey Beahen with not only keeping his nostrils just above water, but promising to get him out of there in one piece.
“[The water] went past my mouth up to my nose and so the chief was waving the water away and holding my chin up with his hand,” said Hamer. “He was holding my chin up, so I don’t pass out. It was a long period of time to hold your chin up. It was a long period of time. I was getting weaker and weaker. My neck was awkward. If he wasn’t holding my neck up, I would have drowned. I would have totally drowned.”
Another 30 minutes in the frigid water, he was free.
“All of a sudden I heard the lift go up,” said Hamer. “They were counting and they yanked me out and I was like, ‘Oh God.’ That was the best feeling in the world. I didn’t care about hypothermia then. I just wanted to be saved.”
Now recovering with a dislocated arm and a pelvis broken in two places, Hamer worries about not having health insurance and providing for his three children.
“I just want to tell Rogers and the community, I love you guys and thank you for saving my life,” said Hamer.