A brave father lost both his legs after trying to protect his two young daughters when a mechanical road snowplow plowed into them at a ski resort in North California.
In the early morning of December 15, Dave Milne and his wife Claire were taking three-year-old Isla and one-year-old Anna to skiing lessons at Mammoth Mountain when a car hit him and his family.
The Australian Defense Force veteran, who lived in San Diego, California, threw himself over the children to prevent them from being dragged into the car.
He managed to hold Anna under his body, but Isla was badly injured after entering the car and Dave was trapped there for more than an hour until rescuers were able to free him and take him to hospital, “remaining conscious the whole time”.
Pictured: Dave Milne after surgery in hospital. In the early morning of December 15, he and his wife Claire were taking three-year-old Isla and one-year-old Anna to skiing lessons at Mammoth Mountain when a car hit him and his family.
In the photo: Ayla, 3 years old. Isla suffered fractures to both legs and pelvis, as well as other injuries. She is expected to make a full recovery after several surgeries
Pictured: Dave’s wife Claire and their daughter Isla. During the incident, Claire raised the alarm and authorities were able to rush Anna to a local hospital
In the picture: a snow plow (archive photo). Dave was trapped in the car for more than an hour before rescuers were able to free him and take him to hospital, “remaining conscious the entire time”.
Claire raised the alarm and authorities were able to rush Anna to a local hospital, accompanied by her mother and sister, according to a GoFundMe set up by family friend Cen Bogan to help the family.
Dave’s injuries resulted in a double amputation, one above the knee on the left and below the knee on the right.
He also has both femurs, a pelvis, a set of lower vertebrae, a sacrum and three ribs.
Dave underwent 10 different surgeries in three weeks, and according to Bogan, there are many more to come.
Isla suffered fractures to both legs and pelvis, as well as other injuries. She is expected to make a full recovery after several surgeries.
Mechanical road snow plows are designed to clear snow and widen roads. Tractors have a mechanical or hydraulic drive. Some have a corkscrew-like blade that scoops up the snow before it is blown to the side of the road.
A GoFundMe post dated Jan. 11 said: “Dave has been transferred to Sydney, Australia but is still in the hospital. Claire, Isla and Anna are now back in Sydney where Isla sees the doctor several times a week.
“Together they will begin a long process of rehabilitation both physically and mentally.”
Pictured: Dave and Isla, who began her recovery in a wheelchair. She is recovering at home with Claire and Anna
Christina Ackerman, assistant chief of the Mammoth Lakes Police Department, told PEOPLE that officers responded to a call at 9:08 a.m. on Minaret Road, which is in close proximity to the popular Mammoth Mountain ski area.
Dave was flown to Reno for treatment of his extensive wounds.
In a message dated January 16, Bogan also told readers about how Anna’s little sister is now living unharmed.
He said: “Anna is doing her best to be… the little sister who knows her sister can’t come after her… yet.”
As for Dave’s wife Claire, she manages to take care of the family by showing “bravery, courage and, frankly, using whatever strength she has to hold on to life,” Bogan reported.
“She does her best to keep the girls busy with visits to dad, trips to the park and dates with friends to keep the girls fighting spirit.”
Dave and his father and brother are pictured in a photo posted on the Jan. 21 GoFundMe post
In Saturday’s update, Bogan said Dave underwent another surgery on Jan. 20 to have stitches removed from his right leg. continues to perform procedures on other parts of the body.
The message also noted that Isla recently underwent emergency surgery and is now recovering at home with Claire and Anna. Bogan previously said that Isla was in a wheelchair but was gradually coming back to herself.
Bogan wrote on Saturday: “Anna is delighted to have her cousins visit for a short while and Claire is phenomenally resilient and organized despite having no time to scratch between normal motherly duties combined with moving, trying find a home for life and tireless medical appointments.
He posted a photo of Dave smiling with his brother and father wearing matching shirts.
The fundraiser has so far raised more than $74,000 toward its $100,000 goal.
The Milne family is trying to rebuild themselves in Sydney and get all the essentials that Dave and the family will now need.
Some of the planned uses for the funds include “car modifications for Dave, home appliances and modifications and other items that Dave will need to accommodate his disability.”
The main message on the GoFundMe page reads: “This life-changing incident means the Milne’s ‘California Dream’ has come to an abrupt end.
“Claire and Dave have shown incredible strength and resilience during this time. The family came together with a positive determination for the future. Many of us have been shocked by the news and are looking for ways to support the Milne’s at this unimaginable time.”