Hyde County man warns others after nearly losing his leg in a grain auger accident

HYDE COUNTY, NC (WITN) - A Hyde County man is recovering after he nearly lost his leg when he slipped into a grain auger in February.

Demock Mann says it took less than a second for him to find himself trapped in that grain auger while working on his Hyde County farm.

"I knew exactly what happened. I yelled, 'it's got me'," said Mann who's scars are healing three months later.

He and his brothers were raking corn inside a grain bin because the auger wasn't working, when it kicked on suddenly and the blades caught his leg.

"My hands were right there holding it from coming up any higher," said Mann.

The auger rolled up the inside of his right leg, pulling his jeans off. His brother Tyler Mann immediately turned the auger off and used a belt as a tourniquet while others called 911.

"His skin was so stretched it was almost white like a bone. I thought it was bone," said Tyler Mann.

It would take two more tourniquets and over an hour to free his brother from the auger once paramedics and emergency personnel arrived. Demock Mann's wife waited outside while more than 50 people worked on removing the auger cutting through his leg.

"I remember thinking 'what is taking so long? why is he still in there'," said Mary-Beth Mann.

Tyler Mann used his bare hands to roll the auger out of his brother's calf before he could be taken out of the grain bin and on to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville. The hospital is more than an hour and a half drive away from the farm, but he arrived in 30 minutes after being airlifted.

"They sewed me all up but I think they quit counting at 200 stitches," said Demock Mann.

The Manns are all still recovering from the ordeal but they say they're grateful.

"He may not have had a leg, or he could just be gone. We could have lost him if everything hadn't have played out just exactly right," said Mary-Beth Mann.

Demock Mann wants to make sure others don't find themselves caught in the blades. He says all farmers should keep tourniquets with them while working.

"Never be alone when you're out here," said Demock Mann, "and I know people get in them everyday but you just got to stay on the right side no matter what."

Mann is continuing to recover. He says he still doesn't have much feeling in his right leg and is undergoing weekly physical therapy.