Father loses both legs after throwing himself across his daughters to save them from snow blower

Brave father loses both his legs after throwing himself across his daughters, 3 and 1, to save them when a motorized snow blower crashed into them on their way to ski lessons

  • Dave Miln and his wife were on a trip to Mammoth Mountain, Northern California
  • Dave managed to shield one daughter but the other sustained significant injuries

  • A GoFundMe page has raised more than $74,000 towards a goal of $100,000

A brave father lost both of his legs after trying to defend his two young daughters when a mechanical road snow blower crashed into them at a ski resort in Northern California

Dave Miln and his wife Clare were taking three-year-old Isla and one-year-old Anna to ski lessons at Mammoth Mountain on the early morning of December 15 when the vehicle ran into them.

The Australian Defence Force veteran, who had been living in San Diego, California, threw himself over the children to try to stop them from being pulled into the machine. 

He managed to keep Anna under his body, but Isla sustained significant injuries, with Dave trapped in the machine for more than an hour until rescuers were able to free him and relocate to a hospital, remaining conscious throughout the experience. 

Pictured: Dave Miln after surgery in hospital. He and his wife Clare were taking three-year-old Isla and one-year-old Anna to ski lessons at Mammoth Mountain on the early morning of December 15 when the vehicle ran into him and his family

Pictured: Dave Miln after surgery in hospital. He and his wife Clare were taking three-year-old Isla and one-year-old Anna to ski lessons at Mammoth Mountain on the early morning of December 15 when the vehicle ran into him and his family

Pictured: Isla, 3. Isla suffered breaks in both of her legs and her pelvis, as well as other wounds. After several surgeries she is expected to make a full recovery

Pictured: Isla, 3. Isla suffered breaks in both of her legs and her pelvis, as well as other wounds. After several surgeries she is expected to make a full recovery

Clare raised the alarm and authorities were able to rush Isla over to a local hospital, accompanied by her mother and sister, according to a GoFundMe page started by family friend Tsen Bogan to help the family.

Dave’s injuries resulted in a double amputation – one above the knee of the left and below the knee on the right. 

He also broke both femurs, his pelvis, a number of his lower vertebrae, a sacral and three ribs.

Dave underwent 10 different surgeries in three weeks and still has many more to come, according to Bogan.

Isla suffered breaks in both of her legs and her pelvis, along with other wounds. She has undergone several surgeries and is expected to make a full recovery. 

Mechanical road snow blowers are designed to clear snow and widen passages. 

The tractors are mechanically or hydraulically driven. Some feature a corkscrew-like blade that pulls up the snow before it is blown out to the side of the road. 

Pictured: A snow blower (file photo). Dave was trapped in the machine for over an hour until rescuers were able to free him and relocate to a hospital, 'remaining conscious the whole time'

Pictured: A snow blower (file photo). Dave was trapped in the machine for over an hour until rescuers were able to free him and relocate to a hospital, ‘remaining conscious the whole time’

Pictured: Dave's wife Clare and their daughter, Isla. Clare raised the alarm during the incident and authorities were able to get Anna quickly to a local hospital

Pictured: Dave’s wife Clare and their daughter, Isla. Clare raised the alarm during the incident and authorities were able to get Anna quickly to a local hospital

A GoFundMe post from January 11 read: ‘Dave has been medically transferred to Sydney, Australia but is still admitted in hospital. Clare, Isla and Anna are now back in Sydney where Isla is attending medical appointments several times a week. 

‘Together they will begin the long rehabilitation process both physically and mentally.’

Christina Ackerman, the assistant to the 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 the vicinity of the popular ski area Mammoth Mountain. 

Dave was transported to Reno to treat his extensive wounds. 

In a post from January 16, Bogan also filled readers in on how uninjured little sister Anna is doing now. 

Pictured: Dave and Isla, who started her recovery in a wheelchair. She is recovering at home with Clare and Anna

Pictured: Dave and Isla, who started her recovery in a wheelchair. She is recovering at home with Clare and Anna

He said: ‘Anna is doing her best to be…a little sister who knows her sister can’t chase her…for now.’

The post said Claire was managing to look after the family by being ‘brave, courageous, and quite frankly using every ounce of strength she has to hold life together’. 

It added: ‘She is doing her best keeping the girls busy with visits to see Daddy, trips to the park and play dates with friends to keep the fighting spirits of the girls up.’

In an update on Saturday, Bogan said Dave underwent yet another surgery on January 20 to get the sutures in his right leg removed as he continues to have procedures completed on other areas of his body. 

The post also noted that Isla had emergency surgery recently and is recovering at home with Clare and Anna. 

Bogan had previously said that Isla was in a wheelchair but was gradually getting back to being herself. 

Dave and his father and brother in a picture shared in a GoFundMe post on January 21

Dave and his father and brother in a picture shared in a GoFundMe post on January 21 

Bogan wrote on Saturday: ‘Anna is excited to have her cousins visiting briefly, and Clare is phenomenally resilient and organized despite having no time to scratch herself between the regular motherly duties combined with moving countries, trying to find a house to live in and relentless medical appointments.’

He posted a picture of Dave smiling with his brother and father in matching shirts. 

The fundraiser has so far generated more than $74,000 towards a goal of $100,000. 

The Miln family are trying to re-establish themselves in Sydney. 

Some of the planned uses for funds include ‘vehicle modifications for Dave, household equipment and modification, and other bits and pieces that Dave will need in adapting to his disability’. 

Shortly after the accident, Bogan wrote: ‘This life changing incident means the Miln’s ‘California Dream’ has come to an early end.

‘During this time Clare and Dave have shown strength and resilience beyond comprehension. 

‘The family has banded together with positive determination for the future. Many of us have been shaken by this news and searching for a way to support the Milns during this unthinkable time.’ 

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