Monday 19 March 2018

Australian man trapped for five hours with nose just above mud after digger fell into dam used 'yoga pose' to survive

Daniel Miller (45) was trapped for five hours Photo: Saimaa Miller Facebook
Daniel Miller (45) was trapped for five hours Photo: Saimaa Miller Facebook

Chris Graham

An Australian man whose excavator fell into a dam was "extremely lucky to survive" after he was trapped just above mud for hours, with just his nose and forehead above the surface.

Daniel Miller (45) was driving the three-tonne vehicle at the remote property in Charlotte Bay, 180 miles north of Sydney, when the banks of the small dam collapsed.

Pinned by the excavator's roll bar as his feet slowly sank in the mud, Mr Miller had to arch his back to keep his nose above water and occasionally yell out for help.

A neighbour 500 metres away eventually heard his shouts and went for help.

While rescuers said the ordeal had lasted two hours, Mr Miller's relieved wife, Saimaa, said he had been stuck for five hours.

"Dan is ok!," she wrote on Facebook.  "He was trapped ... with only his nose and forehead out of the water, with the weight of his excavator on his back, and with the boggy dam ground below him slowly slipping away. For five hours.

"It was literally sheer mental strength and determination to survive that got him through. As well as being fit, strong and healthy. Nothing to do with luck. Legendary effort from a legendary man."

Chief Inspector Neil Stephens told NBN News that Mr Miller was "extremely lucky to survive".

"He was trapped such that only just a part of his face was above the water, just his nose and his forehead was above the water," he said.

With the dam floor too unstable for rescuers to lift the excavator, firefighters had to dig beneath Mr Miller's body to allow him to slide out beneath the bar.

He was taken to hospital in Newcastle, where he was treated for minor back injuries and hypothermia.

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