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Redwood Falls’ Jonathan Ceplecha expected to keep both legs after being pinned under tree for four days

Both legs of Jonathan Ceplecha of Redwood Falls were broken when a tree fell on him Aug. 27. (Photo courtesy Ceplecha family.)

Jonathan Ceplecha of Redwood Falls made the national news this week, but not for a reason anyone could have expected or liked: Ceplecha was trapped under a fallen tree for over four days.

According to a GoFundMe page set up by his relatives, on Thursday, August 27th, Ceplecha was cutting down oak trees with a chainsaw on his property on the eastern edge of Redwood Falls, at the top of the Minnesota River bluff. When a tree fell, both Ceplecha’s legs were broken under a log, with his upper torso twisted as he sat on the ground. He had no phone with him, and because he lives alone, there was nobody to hear or see him.

According to his relatives, Ceplecha spent the next four days eating plants and insects within arm’s reach, and drinking rainwater he collected in his clothes. At night, he covered his head in his shirt to keep insects off as he slept.

Ceplecha was found by his ex-wife and daughter four days later, after becoming concerned he wasn’t answering his phone. Redwood County Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Farasyn was at the scene as well, after the school where Ceplecha teaches requested a welfare check when he missed the first day of class.

Site where Jonathan Ceplecha was trapped for four days. (Photo Courtesy Redwood County Minnesota Sheriff’s Office.)

Rescue workers removed the log, and Ceplecha was flown to HCMC’s intensive care unit in Minneapolis for surgery. According to the family, at this point it is likely 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.

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