A New Zealand man lost his left leg in a motorcycle crash while on vacation in the U.S.
Mark Somervell, 21, crashed his Kawasaki ZX6 motorcycle while on the Angeles Forest Highway in Los Angeles, California, on Aug. 1. The New Zealander reportedly lost control of his bike and slid into a metal barrier.
He had been in the U.S. for four months training to be an arborist.
When he crashed, he severed his left leg and his right leg was left partially cut through.
Due to the actions of Heather Tervet, a motorist who stopped to help, as well as forest rangers who gave him first aid, Somervell survived the crash.
Doctors at the Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, California, are trying to save his right leg.
“They’ve reattached a mangled, severed leg and put it back together,” said the man’s father, Peter Somervell, to reporters at the Herald On Sunday. “We are amazed.”
The father says the surgery has been a success and his son should be able to keep his leg.
“By the time we got here, the muscle had not died, the blood flow was going — he had a pulse in the heel and when he woke up he had sensation in his right foot.”
He went on to say that it is a miracle that his son is alive.
“There are a number of what could only be called miraculous things that happened after Mark’s crash which prevented him from bleeding to death,” the New Zealand pastor and father said. “We don’t know if he slid on debris or if someone in front of him braked and he swerved to avoid them.”
He continued, "He slid into a barrier very close to the road. His legs hit a vertical metal post first and severed the left leg and took half the right leg as well. So he was basically propped up against this barrier with his legs pretty well taken off."
"I didn't know what condition he was in but my first instinct was to get out of my car and race up," said Tervet on when she first saw Somervell. "I couldn't believe my eyes. It was very hard to stomach with exposed bones and cut flesh but your first instinct is to be with that person.”
She added, "I just knelt down by him and consoled him, asking him, 'Please, listen to my voice.'"
After encountering him initially, Tervet then flagged down another driver to help.
When forest rangers arrived, tourniquets were applied to his leg and he was airlifted to the hospital.
According to Tervet, she has developed a close bond with Somervell after the rescue.
"I can't even explain the type of feelings I have for this kid — unreal — I'm going to be there for him forever," Tervet said to reporters at the New Zealand Herald.
For now, he is in good spirits despite his injuries.
"He is slowly coming to terms with the loss of his left leg,” said the father, “which was very hard for him. However he brightened when he heard about getting a prosthetic that enables him to surf."
A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to assist the family with his rising medical bills.