Fearing for the rest of the crew, Maes was determined to free his own leg.

“I pushed and pulled at my leg as hard as I could to get loose and felt a sharp tear,” Maes said. “I thought I had dislodged my leg, but when I moved away, my leg was completely gone.”

Despite bleeding heavily, Maes rushed back to the tank to grab a tourniquet from the medical kit.

“All I could think about was no one knows we’re down here,” he said. “Either I step up or we all die.”