A typical Sunday turned tragic when a Windom, Minnesota, man became trapped in a grain bin’s auger, ultimately losing both legs but surviving thanks to quick thinking and response.
Travis Muller, a 30-year-old father, husband, and motocross and snowmobile rider, was helping clean a grain bin on Sept. 24 with an auger inside when things took a turn for the worst.
The Cottonwood County Sheriff’s Office told local news that the incident was reported at 3:06 p.m.
Both of Muller’s legs got caught in the auger, one up to his thigh. Thanks to the quick action of folks on site, first responders, and a trauma helicopter, Muller could be removed and stabilized.
Muller was then life-flighted to North Memorial Trauma 1 Center in Robbinsdale, where he underwent surgery.
“This is very hard to process, and we are all still in so much shock as we all know the lifestyle that Trav lives and loves, extremely active and a constant goer,” wrote Muller’s wife, Jasmine. “But due to the severity and to save his life, they had to amputate the left leg above the knee and the right leg below the knee.”
The Snowmobile Racing Network, where Muller is widely known, has been helping to spread the news and raise funds on Facebook.
According to his GoFundMe, Muller suffered the loss of muscle, tendon, nerves, veins, and arteries, along with multiple bone shatters. A significant amount of dirt and corn also remained in his legs, making infection a concern.
Muller will likely continue to undergo surgeries to clean his wounds, decrease infection risks, and improve the amputation site for future prosthetics.
“As life-changing as this will be and heartbreaking to lose his legs, the doctor said just a few more seconds, and he would no longer be with us,” writes his wife.
At the time of the last update on the GoFundMe page, Muller was not aware of the condition of losing his legs. However, a CaringBridge update Monday night said Muller opened his eyes for the first time since the surgery.
Another update on Thursday shared Muller’s statement, “Another slow but necessary day.” However, at his latest update, Muller had undergone his fourth surgery and been moved out of the intensive care unit. According to the post, “They are still unsure if they will keep the knee or amputate above.”
At the time of this article, $78,098 has been raised through GoFundMe.
Grain bin and confined space accidents send shockwaves through rural communities annually. A report by Perdue University this year saw a 40 percent increase in reported cases according to the university’s 2022 Summary of U.S. Agricultural Confined Space-Related Injuries and Fatalities.
Nationwide initiated its year-round Grain Bin Safety advocacy and education program in 2014 to combat accidents and equip fire departments with the proper safety resources needed to respond to entrapments.