GRANDFATHER of nine Eric Walk thought he had taken his last breath as he stood clutching a massive wound to his chest, desperately trying to wave down some help.
He had been cutting a plate of steel to fit to the tray of his ute about 11am on September 25 when the angle grinder blade exploded, spitting out a large shard which tore through his chin, neck and chest.
"It was like someone punched me really hard in the shoulder," Mr Walk said.
He realised it was much more serious when blood began pouring from the wound.
The blade had sawed from the right corner of his mouth, down his neck to miss his jugular vein and carotid artery by millimetres, straight through his collarbone and a few of his top ribs to come to rest in his lung.
It also grazed his subclavian artery.
The 70-year-old, who lives alone on Ingoldsby Rd, south of Gatton, ran inside to call an ambulance.
"There was blood all over my glasses so I couldn't see the buttons," he said.
He pushed what he thought was 000 but the phone went dead.
Mr Walk then returned to his ute to start pottering up the dirt road towards a neighbouring piggery, all the while holding his hand on his chest to stop air from his lung escaping.
"I put my hand in there to stop the bleeding," he said.
"It made an ungodly bloody noise."
He arrived at the piggery to see two men working on heavy machinery.
The blade had fallen out of his chest onto the floor of his ute by this time.
"I hadn't panicked or anything up until that point, but when I couldn't get their attention, I freaked."
The men did soon stop their work and an ambulance was called to rush Mr Walk into Gatton.
It was in town he came into contact with Toowoomba Hospital emergency department specialist Dr Jacob Crosdale, who was on board the RACQ CareFlight rescue helicopter.
"When we arrived at the school oval, Eric was at the point of death, his injuries were quite horrific," Dr Crosdale said.
"Because of all the swelling, visibility into his airway was very poor. I was in the process of setting up for a surgical tracheotomy - that's how bad the situation was. There was no time to waste."
Dr Crosdale said he was extremely grateful that an accompanying paramedic managed to get a tube into Mr Walk's airway just before he performed the tracheotomy. "It was certainly heart in your mouth stuff," he said.
Mr Walk was flown to Brisbane, where he remained in hospital for 11 days.
His wound required a mix of more than 70 stitches and staples.
His wife Dorothy, whom he separated from a few years ago, returned to Mr Walk's home on his release to nurse him back to health for a couple of months.
"We are still great friends," he said.
Mr Walk broke into tears many times during the recount of his story but he could barely speak when trying to express the gratitude he felt for all of those who had saved his life and helped during his recovery.
"There is nothing I could put into words," he said. "They are all just great people."