127 Hours mountaineer describes hissing sound his arm made when he amputated it to get free
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Featured Image Credit: TLC
The mountaineer who inspired the film 127 Hours has described the moment his arm hissed, as he amputated it to free himself.
Aron Ralston suffered the injury during canyoneering accident, which left his right arm trapped beneath a boulder in 2003.
Unable to contact the outside world, the engineer became delirious as he began to run out of food after being trapped for five days.
However, he escaped by chance after the pocketknife he was using chip away at the rock slipped and cut into the tip of his thumb.
As his finger gave off a small hiss, Aron knew he had to do the unthinkable.
“It ripped part of the skin off my thumb, kind of like the way an old blister will rip away,” he told TLC, as he revisited the site of his accident.
He continued: “It made me curious, and I started prodding around. I stuck the knife down in…and it slid in like I was sliding it into a warm pack of butter.”
Thankfully, the engineer was unable to feel this at the time as his right arm had lost all circulation after being trapped for so long.
Aron continued to prod, until he heard the hiss of gas being released from his arm.
“It went in about a half an inch and then, this hissing sound of decomposition gases releasing from inside my arm were they’d been building up as my hand was decomposing over the five days,” he explained.
Upon hearing this, he struggled to remain calm and was sent ‘into a panic’ as he realised want had happened to his appendage.
“It scared me. It appalled me. It was a gruesome concept that my hand was decaying whilst still attached to my body,” Aron stated, during the visit Bluejohn Canyon in Utah.
He began to yank and twist his arm, hoping to break free but moments later he realised what he had to do.
Stating that it came to him like an ‘epiphany’, the engineer worked out how amputate his forearm using a dull pocketknife.
He had made an initial attempt to do this two days prior but had been unsuccessful as he hadn’t be able to cut through the two bones in his arm.
Using his body weight, Aron slammed himself against the opposite wall of the canyon snapping both the bones with the sound reverberating throughout the valley.
Thankfully, they broke in the same spot close to the engineer’s wrist.
“…I said to myself, here we go Aron – you’re in it now. And then, I took my knife,” he explained.
Using this and handmade tourniquet, he was able to cut through the remaining nerves and muscle.
He describe the sensation of freeing himself like a ‘fire’, which spread throughout his arm but eventually he escaped his ordeal.
“I fell down and I was free…it was the happiest moment of my life. There will never be a more powerful experience for me.” He stated tearfully, during the interview.
The events of that fateful April would later inspire an autobiography and a feature film, 127 Hours, starring James Franco.