FRENCHVILLE, Maine — A Frenchville farmer is facing a fifth surgery since June 27 when his leg was pulled into a hay baler on the family farm.
Adam Dube, 34, was operating the machine at Hilltop Farms when the baler’s steel pinch rollers clawed onto his right pant leg and sucked the limb in. The round baler chewed away at Dube’s calf, tearing off flesh down to the bone.
Dube’s children, Emette, 5, and Oliver, 3, witnessed the accident and ran to a neighbor’s house to seek help for their father, but the neighbor was not home.
Dube’s longtime partner and the mother of the couple’s children, Melissa Jandreau, was at work at Misty Meadows Organic Farm in Grand Isle when the accident occurred.
Jandreau said Dube was determined to escape the baler’s grip, regardless of how painful that would be.
“He said now he knows what a bear stuck in a foot trap feels like — either chew your foot off and get out or die in there,” Jandreau said. “He pulled with all his strength and everything in him — he said he couldn’t let the boys see him die like that.”
A friend who was already on his way to help out on the farm transported Dube to Northern Maine Medical Center from which Crown Ambulance Services transported him to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center.
Dube was able to get himself into his friend’s vehicle but said he thought he would pass out from the pain, Jandreau said.
He walks on crutches and has since had four operations to clean dead tissue from the wound in order to avoid infection, Jandreau said.
Dube was expected to undergo a fifth surgery on Thursday to reconstruct the damage to his leg.
“He needs some skin grafting done, so it will be a waiting game to see if it takes or not,” Jandreau said.
Since 2014 more than a dozen employees have died while operating baling machines, and many others have lost limbs, according to OSHA records.