A father lost both legs after protecting his daughters from a snow blower while they were going to ski lessons at a resort in California.
The accident occurred on the morning of December 15 in Mammoth Mountain, Northern California, when Dave Miln and his daughters Isla, 3, and Anna, 1, “had a traumatic, life-changing interaction with a mechanical snow blower,” as described on a GoFundMe fundraiser hosted by Tsen Bogan.
Mr. Miln’s “actions ultimately saved” his daughters’ lives by “keeping Anna under his body and doing his best with Isla” who “still entered the machine.”
The father is an Australian Defense Force veteran and the family lived in San Diego, California People warehouse.
Mr. Miln’s wife, Clare, made “split-second decisions that saved the lives of her family,” the GoFundMe page reads. She and the girls were taken to the hospital.
Christina Ackerman of the Mammoth Lakes Police Department told the magazine they responded to the call at 9:08 a.m.
The father “spent over an hour in the machine until rescuers were able to free him” and taken to the hospital, “remaining conscious” throughout the ordeal.
As a result of the accident, Mr. Miln had to have both legs amputated – “above the knee on the left and below the knee on the right”.
He also broke both femurs, several lower vertebrae, the sacrum, and three ribs. He has had 10 surgeries in three weeks, with many more to come.
“Many will be happy to know that Dave still retains his dark sense of humor and razor-sharp wit!” he told GoFundMe.
Isla broke bones in both legs and injured her pelvis, in addition to other wounds. She has had three surgeries and may have more to come, but is expected to make a full recovery.
Mr. Miln was medically transported to Sydney, Australia, where he remains in hospital.
Daughters and Clare have also returned to Sydney “where Isla goes for medical appointments several times a week”.
“This life-changing incident means that Milna’s ‘California Dream’ has come to an end,” he told GoFundMe.
The fundraiser said the costs the family will incur “could include things like vehicle modifications for Dave, home appliances and modifications and other little things Dave will need to accommodate his disability.” .
“Please understand that anything we can collect is not for medical costs, they are covered by the Defense, but the Defense is unable to directly fund all the little things we take for granted in everyday life,” GoFundMe stated.
In a January 21 update, the organizer said Mr Miln had undergone another operation “to remove stitches from his right leg” the previous day.
“Isla has recently undergone several emergency surgeries and is currently recovering at home with Clare and Anna,” he told GoFundMe.
“Isla is still in a wheelchair, but she seems to be slowly recovering, smiling more and feeling more confident. She is such a strong and brave girl,” reads the January 16 update. “Anna is doing her best to be … the little sister who knows her sister can’t chase her … for now.”
The organizer shared a photo of Mr Miln with his brother and father, writing: “clearly their dream of matching shirts brings a wide smile to their faces.”