Angels rescued mechanic crushed by truck axle


By Mark Ellis

Bruce Van Natta


He was underneath a Peterbilt logging truck’s engine when the jack gave way, and 10,000 pounds crushed his body to within an inch of the cement floor. In his near-fatal experience he watched two angels tend to his body as he miraculously came back from the edge of death.

“I traveled around Wisconsin doing on-site repairs on diesel engines,” says Bruce Van Natta, 42. On a mild fall day, he had fixed the coolant leak on the mammoth logging truck, put his tools away and was ready to leave, when the truck’s driver asked him to look at one more thing.

“There’s an oil seep in the front of the engine somewhere,” the man said. Bruce got on the creeper on the floor and slid under the huge chrome bumper, feet first. The truck was still running.

“Why don’t you jump inside and shut it off,” Bruce called out. With the front wheel removed and the truck jacked up, there was barely enough room for Bruce to slip under the axle that ran from wheel to wheel.

Bruce noticed the driver hadn’t positioned any safety equipment to support the jack – no blocking or jack stands. But Bruce had done the same thing many times himself to save time, so he wasn’t concerned.

But as the other man hopped up in the truck’s cab to shut off the engine, he watched the huge truck shift and rock slightly. “Out of the peripheral vision in my left eye I saw movement,” Bruce says. “I turned my head just in time to see the jack wiggle around and shoot out like a rocket.”

The leading edge under the massive engine – the truck’s axle – came down on Jack’s body like a blunt guillotine, with a crushing blow across his stomach nearly cutting him in half. It created the loudest noise Bruce had ever heard.

“Lord help me!” Bruce cried out twice. The force of the trauma on his stomach caused blood to shoot into his throat suddenly; he coughed and spit out a large blob. He bled internally from major arteries severed in five places.

Bruce looked at the left side of his body and saw he was only one inch thick. “I was thinner than the thickness of my spine,” he recalls. Because the axle went up at a slight angle, the axle crushed him to about two inches on the right side.

“Call 911!” Bruce screamed. The driver went into shock when he saw Bruce’s condition. After he placed the emergency call, he grabbed the jack to hoist the truck off Bruce’s body, but the only place he could find to attach it was one of the springs near the wheel – a precarious and unstable position.

As the engine lifted above his crushed stomach, Bruce thought it would be impossible to look this way and still be alive. It was somewhat surreal; he thought his flattened body resembled a cartoon character.

I’m probably going to die, he thought…this will probably kill me.

“Get me out from under the truck,” Bruce yelled, fearful the truck might fall again. But the other man refused to touch him. With two shattered vertebrae, it was not a good idea to move his body.

Bruce reached back and grabbed the chrome bumper himself, then used all the strength he could muster. “I pulled as hard as I could and got my head out,” he recalls, but the rest of his body was still under the truck.

Immediately after that exertion, Bruce passed out. He believes he died at that moment or had a near-death experience. “I can say I died because when the medical people got there I didn’t have a pulse.”

Then something very strange happened. “My spirit left my body and went up in the roof of the garage. My spirit was up there looking down, at perfect peace.”

The other man knelt over Bruce’s body, crying, running his fingers through Bruce’s hair, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” he said repeatedly.

Then looking down from above, Bruce witnessed something even more startling. “I realized there was a huge angel on either side of my body,” he says. He estimates the angels were about eight feet tall, very muscular, dressed in white robes.

“There was a light shining off both of them,” he recalls. “They were identical in appearance, like matching bookends.” Their long hair flowed to the middle of their backs.

The angels’ robes were woven in such a way as to create a course, patterned material. “The robes were tight enough that I could see muscles bulging out of their shoulders, backs, and arms,” he notes. Their arms were positioned under the bumper, angled toward Bruce’s body.

Bruce estimates he was watching from above for about 30 to 40 minutes. Because he was in a rural area – the closest town was Adams Friendship, Wisconsin– the emergency responders were a volunteer fire department.

Immediately they grasped the severity of his injuries and called for a helicopter that would transport him toMadison’sTraumaCenter. The chopper came relatively quickly, but then turned around because there was no ambulance on the scene – no way to get his body into the helicopter.

Even though Bruce was ‘dead’ or ‘unconscious,’ he could later identify the 10 people who arrived, even the fact that two of them entered the building by the wrong door, something he could not have known unless his spirit observed from above.

One of the volunteers, Shannon Cila, kneeled down next to him and began lightly slapping his face.

“Bruce Van Natta, open your eyes. Bruce Van Natta open your eyes,” she said. She continued, as her voice rose.

From the ceiling, Bruce felt his spirit inch closer as she called out to him.
“All of a sudden I shot back into my body and I’m looking at this woman eye-to-eye.”

In his body, he suddenly felt excruciating pain. “In the ceiling I was at perfect peace, but back in my body I realized, ‘Oh crap, I’m the guy who was under the truck.’”

He glanced to the right and the left, but couldn’t see the angels anymore. Somehow, he sensed they were still there.

“I realized I was on the edge of life and death and I got scared. Every time Bruce shut his eyes, his spirit left his body and began to “rocket” down a tunnel. Then Shannon lightly slapped his face and called his name and his spirit returned.

“Do you want to live?” she asked him. “Do you have a wife and kids?”

His wife Lori and their four children jumped into his mind. I can’t die, he suddenly thought. I’ve got to be here for my family.

“No matter how bad it hurt, I decided I had to keep my eyes open,” he says.

It was more than two hours before Bruce received medical attention at UW Madison Trauma Center. The emergency room doctors on duty who examined Bruce’s initial CT scan, Dr. Scott Pinchot, Dr. Fumito Ito, and Dr. Daniel McKenna got into a vigorous disagreement because the CT scan indicated that Bruce should be dead.

With his superior mesenteric artery severed in two places, and other arteries and veins cut, he should have bled to death within minutes. What stunned the doctors is that he still registered a weak blood pressure and his heart was still beating.

Dr. McKenna, the chief resident in the trauma department told Bruce later: “We were looking at the CT scans of a dead person. You were dead; but your eyes were open and your heart was pounding like a 20-year-old man running a marathon.”

“We couldn’t make sense of it,” he said. “Was something in the CT Scan lying to us? You had bled out; we had no flow. We didn’t know what to make of it.”

Bruce believes the two angels followed him during the emergency and intervened to keep him alive. In addition to the severed arteries and veins, his pancreas and spleen were crushed, two vertebrae were broken, and most of his small intestine obliterated.

Bruce’s book


Doctors were so certain he would die within hours, they opened Bruce up and repaired the major arteries, attempting nothing more. They decided to wait four hours, believing he would die within that timeframe.  They ultimately waited another 12 hours before any further intervention, they were so certain he would die. But his heart kept beating.

Next they placed Bruce into an induced coma. Eventually, he endured five surgeries over the next 12 months. After that, he had a year and a half of rehab.

Bruce credits his wife’s prayers in his miraculous survival. “When she first got the news, she got down on her knees and said, ‘Lord, I can’t deal with this. I need your help. If Bruce can’t be the man he wants to be, then take him. But if he can be who he wants to be, then please save him.’”

“She only took her Bible into the hospital and never left my side for three weeks except to go to the bathroom,” he says. “It was touch and go for a long time. There was miracle after miracle. God healed my spleen and my pancreas.”

When Bruce came out of the coma he got some bad news. “They only expected me to live one year because I didn’t have enough small intestines,” he says. While the average small intestine is 20 feet in length, Bruce only had three feet remaining – and that small portion was not functioning properly.

“They told me they could only feed me intravenously for a year and then I would die,” he notes. His weight dropped from 185 to 124 and he began to have the look of a concentration camp victim.

But a man named Bruce Carlson heard about Bruce Van Natta’s medical case from a prayer chain, then God woke Carlson up two mornings in a row with a special assignment: buy a plane ticket and fly from New York to Wisconsin to pray for Bruce’s healing.

Carlson argued with God about the $900 plane ticket. “I wasn’t looking for this,” Carlson notes.

“He showed up at the hospital and prayed for me,” Bruce recalls. Carlson placed his right hand on Bruce’s forehead, and then he prayed a bold prayer:

“Lord, I add my prayers to all the other prayers for Bruce. In the name of Jesus, I command you small intestine to grow back right now.”

Bruce’s daughter helps her dad after he first came home

Instantly, Bruce felt an “electric shock” and heard a snap. “An electricity, the power of God came right out of his hand and went into my intestines. I could feel them rolling around,” he says.

“It felt like a snake came uncoiled inside my stomach,” he continues. “I felt something cylindrical rolling around and moving inside my stomach.” Doctors confirmed the miracle later through x-rays and CT scans: his small intestine grew an additional seven feet in response to this prayer in Jesus name.

Not only did the intestine grow back, it worked perfectly. “When they tested it the small intestine worked exactly as if I had all my intestines. I was losing weight and then, all of a sudden, my weight leveled off.”

Sometime following the accident, Bruce left his business and entered full-time Christian work. Bruce authored a book about his miracle, “Saved by Angels” (Destiny Image) and is working on a new book that will come out in January.

He formed Sweet Bread Ministries, a non-denominational, evangelistic ministry dedicated to bringing people of all backgrounds into a closer, more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.

“I’m in great health now,” Bruce says. “God is real and He is still doing miracles today.”


If you want to know more about a personal relationship with God, go here



  1. Wow! so electrified by the working and devine power of GOD. Bruce my Brother I am believing God for a second baby, when I am graced by baby boy I am so definately naming him Bruce in remembrance of this miraculous working power of our great God.

  2. That is so inspiring! Our Father God is so awesome!
    I’m going to foward that testimony to a group of prayer warriors who have
    a world wide connection.

  3. The angels of God are still at work in the life of those who are heirs of the kingdom. Am so delighted to read this article, it is a proof that we serve a living God who work miracles in all generations. This has strengthened my faith the more and I know it will do likewise to the faith others who are going through hard times.
    God is always there to answer when we call on Him as Bruce did.
    I wish you more strength in Jesus name.






  5. God is so awesome!!! I too am here because God (does/did as only He can; mine took place at church)….the prayers of saints are so important. Thanks to all for their obedience; victory and faith can sometimes look like defeat! I’m glad the angels have charge over us as well. This story caused me to recall my own; God is good and with me. Blessed be His holy name .Bruce thanks for being “one of the ten”. I am encouraged today.

  6. God knew you would be a great minister of faith and healing and gave you that great witness for others who need Him. Praise the Lord and let Him pass the ammunition for your work in His name.

  7. What an awesome story . God still does miracles today . With prayer agreeing when we ask God . Nothing is to hard for God . It must be amazing now reaching out to help those in need . Gods sure to continue to bless you .

  8. It is very comforting to know that our God is still taking care of and healing people to carry out His ministries. Praise God for His love for the people.

  9. I have a 21 yr old grandson who, at the age of 32 hours, lost his entire large intestine to Hurshbrun’s disease. It also infected his small intestine. He just has enought left to live on. These 21 years I have been believing God to restore his large intestine and give him a colon again. Your story encouraged me to continue to pray and believe! Grandson is angry at God for all his physical ailments, not to mention the emotional ones, he has experienced because of it. GLORY TO GOD WHO STILL IS ON THE THRONE!

  10. Hi I am Deaf and use American Sign Language. Please pray for my healing from asthma and diabetes as well deafness to be 100% again. Bruce’s story is amazing. Here is Jesus Christ’s instructions on how to really pray for Deaf people like me …

    Mark 9:14-29 King James Version (KJV)

    14 And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them.

    15 And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him.

    16 And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them?

    17 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit;

    18 And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.

    19 He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.

    20 And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.

    21 And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child.

    22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.

    23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

    24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

    25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.

    26 And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead.

    27 But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.

    28 And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out?

    29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

  11. Wow! I’m touch and so blessed by this testimony. Amen, God is real and still working right now for us.

  12. To God be the glory for this amazing miracle. Our generation is going to witness the ever powerful move of the power of God in this last days. This is the beginning of what is going to happen. May God preserve you my brother Bruce.

  13. You made a believer out of me! When did this take place? I lived in Adams Friendship for quite a few years. I don’t remember hearing about it, but I am growing older and am at the point in my life where I have become somewhat forgetful. I will pass this story on to friends that I left behind. Thank you for this inspiring story. God is everywhere!

  14. Is there any way to contact the Bruce Carlson who prayed for you, Bruce Van Atta?
    I assume he has a healing ministry? I have a friend who has cancer throughout her body and she needs a miracle desperately. Please pray for Angie.
    God is no respecter of persons. What He does for one He will do for another.
    Believing for total healing for Angie, with angels, or Bruce, or by His Holy Spirit. However HE chooses to work.
    Great testimony! Thanks.

  15. Please pray for Noela Carlick in Saskatoon Saskatchwan, to be healed of cancer. God is still on the throne; to Him be all the glory and honor, for His healing power. In Jesus Name.
    God be with you and for the ministry He put upon you, Bruce and Bruce.
    In Him (Jesus) we live and move and have our being. Amen
    Esther Shortt.

  16. God saved my life and my Soul in 2003. He did what witnesses said was imposable. I had been a drug addict, wife abuser, thief, hard core biker, and spent my life in violence denying God even existed.
    I wrote a book ‘A Long and Winding Road’ and am now moving to India to do God’s work there among the poor.
    God is ALL, God is the creator and maintainer of all things.
    One day we will all be judged, what will all those who deny Him say?

  17. Hi there, how wonderful is the power of God. Not so long ago my son suffered a accident. Wont go into details as its personal etc. He was found with no pulse or heartbeat, and had also flat lined etc. They managed to get his heart beating again, but a machine breathed for him. Little hope was held he would recover and for a few days he lay in a coma. No sign of brain activity etc. I remember praying for him when I was there by his bed side an saying Oh Jesus in the power invested in you by almighty God please let my son live, but only if it be they will. I seemed to hear words in my head. Thou he be dead, yet shall he live.. and heard other thoughts simliar to the scripures. From that moment I felt a peace come over me and knew despite what they were saying, my son would recover. And oneday he woke up. He at first stared with no expression, but as time went by his eyes could follow you. Then he started to behave like a baby, gurgling and making sounds, if you did things to make him smile. He like a baby found a way to put his fingers in his mouth an suck on them. He also could not even crawl let alone walk. One continued to pray for him whilst doctors mused an worried about the brain damage etc. Now he can walk, talk normally and getting bits and pieces of his memory back. He still has a long way to go in recovery, but its a miracle he is how he is so far. Doctors say its a miracle. Not sure where he is getting it from to function at all going by the brain scan etc at the time with a lot of damage, enough to make anyone a vegetable for life.
    So yes God to this day still performs miracles. My son recently told me that he was hovering over his body when he as he put it died. He does not say nearly died, but is emphatic he actually did die. He described me sitting by his bed, and recounts me saying a certain word that only he and I knew about. So yes he heard my prayers and saw me there holding his hand and talking to him. God be praised for His infinate love and mercy. Amen.

  18. I would like to say another comment here. I praise God, that Bruce Van Nutta has made a miraculous recovery. Sorry I did mean to mention this in my last message, but got a bit carried away sharing about my son’s recovery which to me is also a miracle from God. Still one must also praise the medical staff who do their bit in providing care, and who also are in a sense guided by the hand of God to assist with the healing proccess. I made a mistake in my last message as meant to say I heard in my thoughts “Though he be dead, yet shall he live”. by mistake i said thou instead of though.
    There is no way possiable my own son would have lived if it were not for divine intervention. Amen.

  19. God is Our refuge and our strength, A very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1)….. We serve a Living God who is faithful to all His words…. Thank God for this miracle. Jesus Is Lord… Glory!!

  20. Pedro Libracao da Lavra Baragao is 2 years old and he doesnt have intestine, he is brasilian and in Brazil nobody does this trasplant. he received a new intestine in the USA but he had to take it out because rejection and now he needs a multivisceral transplant. Pray for him.

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