EUROPE — An American soldier deployed to Europe is being praised for severing his own leg in order to save the lives of his teammates.
According to the Department of Defense, 20-year-old Specialist Ezra Maes was asleep in his M1A2 Abrams tank during a joint training mission with his crew members when the tank suddenly started heading downhill.
He called out to the driver but he told Ezra it wasn't him. The tank's parking brake had failed.
The team later found out that the brakes weren't functioning due to a hydraulic leak.
The tank crashed into an embankment and Ezra, the loader on the tank's 120mm main cannon, ended up getting his leg stuck in the turret gear of the vehicle.
He looked around and saw his crew members in pain and all he knew was that he wanted to help them.
Ezra said he pushed and pulled at his leg as hard as he could until he felt a sharp tear. His leg was gone. He tried to get himself to the back of the tank to get hold of a tourniquet from the medical kit but started feeling dizzy. He used his belt instead.
He tried to get one of his crew members to radio for help, unfortunately it wasn't working.
Though Ezra's phone had survived the accident. A crew member passed it to him and Ezra reached out for help.
A helicopter rushed them to a medical center in Germany.
Ezra is now going through physical therapy in the U.S. and plans to receive a long-term prosthetic leg in the future.
The now 21-year-old still has a positive attitude despite all he has gone through and explained that he feels "super lucky," even though he had to initially spend four months in intensive care.