A local man is thankful to be alive after being impaled by an 8-foot tree branch while dirt biking.

The branch ended up just inches away from a major artery.

Now, Jon Francey has a message for others.

Jon says the reason he's alive today is because of his friends. So wants others to learn from his experience: to always wear your gear and don't ride alone.

"The point is that they weren't going to give up on me,” he said.

Jon is still fighting back tears. On Saturday, he and some friends were riding dirt bikes in the mountains near Idaho City. There was a downed tree on the trail. Jon saw it and tried to go around it, but didn't make it.

"I felt something kind of dig into the pants and then I heard the branch snap off of the actual tree,” he said.

The next thing Jon knew he was going down. He knew the branch had struck him, but he had no idea just how bad it was.

"So my knee cap is here and it entered here almost in the cup of my knee, and it was like this and punctured almost all the way up like that, and this was all in there the barbs and everything,” Jon said.

The tree branch was 8-feet long!

His friends jumped into action.

One ran for help while others tried to find a way to get Jon out of the woods.

That's when someone pulled out an Xacto knife.

"He had one of those disposable ones that click, click, click, and you break the tips off, so he took that and started whittling the wood away," Jon said.

It took an hour and a half, but they were finally able to cut through the branch.

As for Jon, he says he must have been in shock because he felt okay.

He even managed to get on his bike and ride about two-and-a-half miles through rugged terrain.

“I was like man I just need to make it to that fire road," he said.

When he got there, an ambulance was waiting and took him to Idaho City where he was airlifted to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise.

"The surgeon said he's like 'man you were extremely lucky,' because it missed my major artery by an inch-and-a-half and my major nerve by about a half-an-inch," Jon said.

Jon’s wife Bethany still can't believe it.

"You know it's a really special time where you just really, really, we always appreciate and love each other but it's just like a whole ‘nother level, especially when the surgeon said it's an inch-and-a-half away from his artery," Bethany Francey said.

“Really blessed and really fortunate, you know as bad as the situation was it was probably the best case scenario, you know I think God was really looking out for me," Jon said.

Jon says he felt pressure and discomfort but never felt any serious or extreme pain.

He was released from the hospital today and is expected to make a full recovery.

There is a Go Fund Me to help the family with medical expenses.