A Queensland father of five called his wife to “say goodbye” thinking he would not survive when he became trapped in farming machinery during a horrific accident.
A doctor was flown to the Scenic Rim property, in the state’s southeast, earlier this month to perform delicate surgery on the farmer whose legs were trapped by the blades of a grain machine.
Gavin Boekel was working on his Coleyville farm on May 14 when he became stuck in a grain auger for more than three hours.
Mr Boekel’s wife Rachelle told the Gatton Star he thought he was not going to survive the ordeal and called her on the phone to say his last goodbyes while pinned.
He thought he was sharing his final words with his wife when he thanked her for caring for their children.
"He said 'I'm stuck, I love you - thank you for being the mother of my children'," Mrs Boekel said.
Writing about the ordeal on Facebook, she said: “My husband father of 5 beautiful kids didn’t come home on his birthday to see his five children get his birthday present or cut the cake.
“My husband fell into a machine that has massive blades on it like a blender.”
Mrs Boekel said one leg was severed below the knee and the other was crushed.
His back was broken in seven places and his pelvis was cracked.
“He was trapped for over three hours with the next blades... about to rip through his stomach,” the wife wrote.
“He was fully awake and fully aware. No man should ever have to go through with what my husband did.
“The situation was so intense that he required immediate surgery, on the spot, in the dirty farm yard before being airlifted to Brisbane.”
Mr Boekel remains in a critical condition at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital.
He owed his life to the emergency services workers who worked for hours to free him and the “outstanding” hospital staff, according to his wife.
"Our life has just been flipped upside down. It feels like a nightmare you just can't wake up from," she told the Gatton Star.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the Boekel family uproot their lives to move closer to their father and husband in Brisbane, while he endures a long road of recovery ahead.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.