Connecticut man amputates own arm after being trapped in basement

Jonathan Metz (Source: WECT)
Jonathan Metz (Source: WECT)

Reported by Casey Roman – bio |email

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - A man in Connecticut who did the unthinkable - severed off his own arm to save his life - comes from a family who calls Brunswick County, North Carolina home.

Jonathan Metz, 31, caught his arm inside his basement furnace while trying to fix it. He was trapped for three days and was found after his co-workers notified 911. When they arrived, they found Jonathan's arm hanging by little more than nerves and fat after he had spent hours with a hacksaw trying to remove it.

In a press conference broadcast worldwide Tuesday, Jonathan shared his story.

"I began to notice a smell which I had only heard before might be indicative of rotting flesh," he told reporters. "At that point I had a decision to make."

Using his tools, he tried twice to remove his arm. At one point, hitting nerves and passing out.

"I fashioned a tourniquet out of the shirt I was wearing, tied it as best I could, and started cutting."

Jonathan's family lives in Saint James Plantation in Southport. Neighbors said they were in Connecticut with their son.

The story had spread to local EMS crews who say they can't believe that Jonathan was successful – and survived.

"The bones that he was dealing with, they're extremely strong," said Harry Einbinder, the Assistant Chief of EMS in Saint James Plantation. "I can't imagine what this young man must have gone through."

Harry has seen many bad accidents but said Jonathan's story is exceptional.

"He's an incredible human being, it kind of boggles my mind that he could deal with losing a limb physiologically -- and the pain. I just think it's an incredible story!" said Einbinder.

Jonathan said he's just an average guy, who thought he still had a lot to live for.

"The human spirit, it's strong and trust me, whether it's cutting your arm off or finding some other way, I think people would be surprised what they're capable of," said Jonathan.

Jonathan said he drank rust-colored water from a boiler release valve to stay alive.

Doctors say he'll be fitted for a prosthetic arm within three months. Monday, an energy company fitted his basement with a new furnace for free.

The Metz family has set up a website to collect donations to pay for his new arm:

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