Sheldon Scott should be a dead man. The 25-year-old was seconds from being crushed to death in an industrial accident at the East End quarry when he was pulled to safety.
It took nine surgeries in Miami to save his leg, which was crushed in the gears of the quarry’s conveyer belt. But Mr. Scott considers himself a lucky man.
The soft-spoken young man who loves to play basketball and football was fighting for his life after the incident in April this year.
“I am very thankful to be alive – I never thought I would survive that,” said Mr. Scott.
“I am doing much better, but I am still badly damaged. It might be a long time before I am able to do any heavy work again,” he said.
The day of the accident started like any other workday for Mr. Scott. He arrived at around 7 a.m. to clean up around the conveyer belt.
After finishing his work, a blast of wind caught his shirt and blew it into the turning gears of the conveyer belt.
Mr. Scott shouted, but no one could hear him above the noise of the equipment – at the time he was the only one working on the ground around the machine.
“I fought to get away but the belt continued to pull me in,” said Mr. Scott, recalling that terrifying moment. Desperately trying to catch someone’s attention, he looked up and saw his uncle, Lawson Scott, in the loader. Flailing his arms and shouting, he was able to get his attention. As his uncle turned the loader around, he immediately saw that his nephew was in trouble.
Lawson Scott left the loader and ran to try and free his nephew. “He fought to get me loose but could not,” Mr. Scott said.
He said his uncle ran to the control room to turn off the machine but by that time the machine had already pulled his leg in and was crushing it. “When the machine stopped, I dropped to the ground,” he said.
He said he was still conscious and heard his uncle calling 911.
Mr. Scott said when he was taken to the Cayman Islands Hospital, doctors wanted to amputate his leg because it was so badly crushed, but his family did not agree and had him flown to Miami for further treatment.
While in Miami, Mr. Scott said, he underwent nine surgeries. His leg was so swollen at times, he said, he could not move it.
“I am very thankful to be alive. I never thought I would survive something like that,” Mr. Scott said. He still thinks about that day.
“I just keep the faith,” he said. “It could have been worse, I could have lost my legs.”
He said doctors told him he will not be able to play basketball or football again, but with a strong determination and a smile on his face despite being in pain, Mr. Scott said he will find some other sports to do.
He retains a positive attitude.
“I think I am coming along very fast with the healing, but I don’t let it keep me down – life must go on – especially since I am so surprised to be alive,” he said.
“I have come a long way; it is remarkable,” he said.