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Jeremy Renner speaks out about recovery from near-death experience
01:40 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Jeremy Renner sat down with Diane Sawyer for his first interview since being crushed by a snow plow he was operating on New Year’s Day.

The Marvel star was the subject of “Jeremy Renner: The Diane Sawyer Interview – A Story of Terror, Survival and Triumph,” which detailed the accident at his Nevada home and Renner’s recovery.

Here’s some of what we learned:

Saving his nephew

It had been reported that Renner was attempting to save his adult nephew, Alex, when the accident occurred and the actor shared during the interview exactly what happened.

According to Renner, the pair had towed a vehicle out of the snow using the snow plow when it began to slide on the ice.

Out of concern for his nephew’s safety, Renner stuck his foot out of the plow to look back at Alex and fell out of the cab. Because he had forgotten to put the parking brake on, the actor was pulled under the moving plow, which weighs more than 14,000 pounds.

“You shouldn’t be outside the vehicle when you’re operating it, you know what I mean,” Renner recounted. “It’s like driving a car with one foot out of the car.”

Noting that the accident was “my mistake and I paid for it,” the “Hawkeye” star said he screamed, “Not today, motherf—er!” as he was being sucked under the plow.

Despite the accident which left him severely injured, Renner has no regrets.

“Yeah, I’d do it again because it was going right at my nephew,” he said.

The devastation

Renner’s injuries included eight ribs broken in 14 places, a broken eye socket, broken knee, a collapsed lung and his liver pierced from a rib bone.

His neighbors Rich Kovach and Barb Fletcher assisted Renner’s nephew in helping him after the accident. Both spoke of the trauma during the interview.

“It was a horrible sound to listen to someone, just literally watching somebody die in front of you,” Fletcher said. “You feel so helpless.”

Kovach said there was a great deal of blood involved in the accident and “when I looked at his head, it appeared to me to be cracked wide open.”

Fletcher said she believes Renner may have died at some point.

“I really feel he did pass away for a couple of seconds,” she said. “I really do.”

His recuperation

Renner was eventually airlifted to a hospital in Reno, Nevada.

His doctors believe Renner being in going shape prior to the accident assisted in both his survival and recovery, but it was extremely touch and go.

So much so that Renner said he was making end of life plans for himself.

“I’m writing down notes in my phone… last words to my family,” he told Sawyer. “Don’t let me live on tubes on a machine, if my existence is going to be on drugs and painkillers. Let me go now.”

These days, he has progressed to the point where he is able to walk with a cane and the actor is feeling grateful for his survival.

When he looks in the mirror now, Renner said, “I see a lucky man.”