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Animals

Austrian police dog recovers severed finger

Surgeons have been able to reattach one of two fingers severed by a circular saw in Austria thanks to the keen nose of a police dog. The search animal was able to locate the unidentified woman's thumb lost in tall grass.

Authorities in Austria say a 51-year-old woman has been reunited with a digit severed in a wood-cutting accident thanks to a police dog who located the thumb severed by a circular saw.

The woman had accidentally severed her thumb and ring finger after getting caught in the machine around 10:45 a.m. Saturday. About 10 people searched in vain for the missing fingers near Esternberg, a town in Upper Austria along the German border.

But a police canine was able to recover the thumb about 15 meters (49 feet) from where she was working at about 1:30 p.m. nearly three hours after the accident. The woman, who had been airlifted by helicopter to a hospital in Linz, underwent 12 hours of surgery as doctors reattached the recovered thumb and repaired her little finger that was also cut by the saw blade.

The missing ring finger was never found.

jar/rc (dpa, Austrian police press release)