Teenager left with half a body after he fell 50ft in a horrific forklift accident has gotten engaged to his girlfriend after their relationship became stronger following his accident.
Loren Schauers, a 19-year-old builder from Great Falls in Montana, US, was working at a construction project on a bridge, in September 2019, when he got too close to the edge and the ground crumbled beneath him.
He got trapped underneath the four-ton forklift after coming off the bridge.
Loren said: “The seatbelt ended up wrapping around my leg as I jumped out so I actually swung out instead and broke one of my ribs off the floorboard of the forklift.
“I tried staying on top of the forklift as much as I could as it rolled and then I was thrown from the forklift at the end of the hill once it finally landed.
“I was conscious the whole time. My eyes were wide open and I saw the forklift come down and land on my hips and my right forearm.
“I remember looking to my right with the forklift on top of my body and there was big old piece of muscle from my arm just lying on the ground next to me. It had just blown apart instantly from the impact.”
The young labourer made the brave decision to let medics perform hemicorperectomy surgery – where everything below his waist was amputated – to save his life.
Doctors told his devastated girlfriend Sabia Reiche, now 21, he wouldn’t survive, and she said goodbye to him six times – fearing he wouldn’t live another day.
But miraculously, he pulled through.
The pair had only been together for 18 months when the accident happened but said the turmoil brought them closer together, and they got engaged this year.
Describing the operation, Loren said: “They thought my lower extremities were still salvageable.
“The doctors tied off my main veins down below and took scans of my body to see what state it was in there and they realised my pelvis had completely crumbled.
“I was transferred to Seattle, Washington, by mercy flight where they first performed a surgery leaving my right hip, genitalia, and left thigh.
“Once they had also seen the state of my pelvis, that’s where it was then deemed that I’d need a hemicorporectomy surgery.
“They then tried saving my sperm with my consent but it turned out to not be viable.”
One month after his accident, Loren was transferred to a hospital back in Montana so family could visit – as doctors still believed he would die.
But his health started to improve at an incredible speed.
Loren stayed in hospital for just three months, went through four weeks rehabilitation, and then went home.
He has taught himself how to put on his “bucket” prosthetic and get into his wheelchair without any help.