The man whose legs were broken and pinned under a tree for more than 100 hours survived by eating plants and insects, and drinking rainwater and sweat, according to a Go Fund Me page set up to help support him financially.
Jonathan Ceplecha, an Army veteran, teacher and father, was cutting oak trees with a chainsaw at his property in Redwood Falls on Aug. 27 when both of his legs got pinned under a tree, causing his upper torso to be "semi-twisted as he sat upright on the ground," the page said. "His legs were broken instantly and he was in enormous pain."
Ceplecha, who lives alone, was cutting down trees on a hill in the woods behind his house, so he was out of sight and sound from anyone. He also didn't have a phone on him.
He survived, the page says, by eating plants and insects that were within arm's reach and he drank sweat and rainwater that he collected in his clothes, the page says. At night, he covered his head in his shirt to keep the insects off as he slept.
"He kept his sanity by breaking down every day into hours, and each hour into 5-minute segments," the page details, noting he has a strong faith and prayed to often, as well as "tried to distract himself from panic by meditating and inventing rhythms to follow from dawn to dusk."
After more than 100 hours, on Aug. 31, his ex-wife went to check on him because his family had gotten concerned that he wasn't answering their calls. The Redwood County Sheriff's Office also sent a deputy to his house for a welfare check after he missed the first day of classes Monday at Marshall Area Technical & Educational Center, where he works as an English teacher.
It took rescue workers about two hours to remove the log from his legs, the sheriff's office said, and the Go Fund Me says he was flown to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he's in the intensive care unit.
"He has already undergone surgeries and at this point, it is likely that both of his legs will be saved, but he faces a long road to full physical recovery and his feet are still in bad condition," the page says.
The Go Fund Me page, which was created Thursday by an apparent family member, has a goal of raising at least $2,000. The page notes that Ceplecha, "a true survivor in every sense of the word," will have most of his medical costs covered because he's a veteran, but "it is likely that there will be unforeseen gaps and expenses that arise from his slow recovery and eventual return to normal life."