A man’s quick thinking saved a rural farmer from being crushed to death by a half ton hay bale.
A British farmer owes his life to 39-year-old Michael Moss, after a tractor accident nearly ended his life.
Moss, who works remotely at his home in the countryside town of Woksop, England, was on his lunch break on June 23, when he heard distant screaming from the fields behind his home.
“Where we live is very rural. When you hear something unusual, you twitch your head,” he said according to the Mirror.
“I heard it three times and thought, ‘That’s definitely not a good noise.’ I had to investigate what the noise was.”
Moss abandoned his meal and ran a quarter mile in the direction of the neighboring field in flip flops.
He could hear the man screaming for help as he sprinted closer. “I could see a tractor cab parked. I was worried what I was going to face now — [was] he impaled?” he wondered.
Moss said fear of the unknown “really triggered, ‘How am I going to deal with this?’”
When he found the farmer, who was only identified by his first name, Stephen, Moss was shocked to see the bottom half of his body pinned underneath an industrial sized hay bale.
“It’s not the first thing you’d think to see,” the father of two remarked.
Stephen was “severely injured,” but conscious as Moss tried to “shoulder-barge” the 1,000 pound hay bale of his body with no luck.
He called 999, England’s version of 911, but was worried first responders would be unable to locate them because the area was so off the beaten path.
That’s when Moss remembered that he had the What3words app on his phone.
“A previous boss worked in emergency services and said I should download what3words, but this was the first time I’d ever used it,” he recalled.
The app works as a location finder by encoding geographic coordinates into a unique combinations of three words that can pinpoint a location down to three meters.
“As I’m on 999, they ask where we are. I said, ‘I’ve got what3words’ and they said that was good … [The dispatcher] knew exactly where I was instantly,” he reported.
While they waited the fifteen minutes for emergency responders to arrive, Moss noticed another problem… Another half ton hay bale was inching off the tractor near Stephen’s head.
He was able to get a hold of Stephen’s farmhands, who kept the second hay bale from shifting.
When first responders were able to reach Stephen and move the hay bale off of his lower half, Moss said that his relief was audible, but the damage left behind was awful.
“The best way to describe his lower body [is that it] was like a squashed frog,” he commented. “His leg was in an unnatural [position].”
Stephen was transported to the nearest hospital an hour away, and was treated for sever trauma to his upper leg and pelvis.
Moss believes that the outcome would have been much worse if it had taken paramedics any longer to arrive, and credits the app with their speedy arrival.
“The phone signal is an area of contention. It’s not great there,” he explained. “What3words gives you [is] something you can do offline — using three words to save your life.”