A FARMER who suffered horrific injuries when he became trapped in a potato harvester is now on the road to recovery .

Darren Taylor lost his left leg, the bottom of his right leg and severely damaged his arm when he became trapped in the machine on his farm near York.

The incident sparked a complex rescue mission - which is to feature in two TV shows later this month – and the lucky-to-be-alive Darren now hopes to be back at work in the autumn.

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He had been running the harvester in preparation for a morning’s work when he slipped and became caught in the machinery.

“It only had my foot in to start with and I tried to pull it out with my left hand and then it took my hand and more of my leg,” recalled the 44-year-old from his home at Bolton Percy, where he lives with his wife Nicky and their three children.

“It was then starting to really hurt and I just was calling for help and trying to keep as much of me out of the machine as possible. It was about 20 minutes before someone came and switched the harvester off.”

Fire and ambulance crews were quickly on the scene and were joined by paramedics from the Yorkshire Air Ambulance but they struggled to get Darren free, so engineers familiar with the machinery were scrambled from their base at Dunnington.

Working together they finally freed the stricken farmer who was flown to hospital in Leeds for immediate emergency surgery.

Air ambulance paramedic Graham Pemberton said: “He was remarkably calm throughout what was a long and complex rescue and Darren’s is certainly a job I will remember for the rest of my life.”

Darren was placed in an induced coma for eight days while surgeons battled to save his life. His left leg was fully amputated, his left elbow removed and the bottom of his right leg amputated. He spent three months in hospital before returning home on New Year’s Day.

“I have had one prosthetic leg fitted and I am hoping to be walking by early summer and want to be back to work by the autumn,” he said.

“I have lived and worked on farms all my life. There are times when it’s really tough to stay positive but we have this place and the children and I have had such amazing support from my family and friends; from everyone.”

Darren’s story will be featured in the new series of BBC1’s Helicopter Heroes on April 14 and in Countryfile on April 20.