‘I chose to survive’: Jeremy Renner gives first interview since snowplough accident

Jeremy Renner is set to give his first interview since he was critically injured in a snowplough accident in January, telling journalist Diane Sawyer he was “awake through every moment” when the seven-tonne machine crushed him.

Jeremy Renner: The Diane Sawyer Interview – A Story of Terror, Survival and Triumph, will air in the US on ABC News on 6 April, ahead of the premiere of Renner’s new Disney+ series Rennervations.

The Avengers actor was hospitalised in a critical condition with blunt chest trauma and orthopaedic injuries in early January when his Sno-Cat machine ran him over.

Related: Jeremy Renner posts first video of himself walking after snowplough accident

A teaser trailer for the interview has been released, including the audio of the 911 call made to save Renner’s life. The 52-year-old actor is heard moaning in pain as people tell him to “keep fighting”.

“All of it,” Renner tells Sawyer, when she asked how much of pain he remembers. “I was awake through every moment.”

Renner was trying to help his nephew free his car from snow near his home in Lake Tahoe, when the Sno-Cat began to roll. The machine crushed the actor as he tried to stop it hitting his nephew.

“I’d do it again,” Renner tells Sawyer. “You’d do it again?” she asked, incredulous.

“Yeah, I’d do it again. ‘Cause [the snowplough] was going right at my nephew,” Renner replies.

“I see him in a pool of blood coming from his head,” Renner’s nephew told Sawyer in the interview. “I ran up to him. I didn’t think he was alive.”

Sawyer reads off the list of Renner’s injuries, which include “eight ribs broken in 14 places. Right knee, right ankle broken, left leg tibia broken, left ankle broken, right clavicle broken, right shoulder broken. Face, eye socket, jaw, mandible broken. Lung collapsed. Pierced from the rib bone, your liver – which sounds terrifying.”

The actor reveals that at one point he wondered, “What’s my body going to look like? Am I just going to be a spine and a brain, like a science experiment?”

Renner tears up when Sawyer says, “I heard that you had, in sign language, you said to your family, ‘I’m sorry.’”

“I chose to survive. That’s not gonna kill me, no way,” he says later. “I’ve lost a lot of flesh and bone in this experience, but I’ve been refuelled and refilled with love and titanium.”

The interview will also include footage of Renner’s physical therapy, including him using a knee scooter to move around. The actor has been using social media to keep his fans up to date on his progress, two days ago posting a video of him walking for the first time with with the assistance of an anti-gravity treadmill.

“When you look in the mirror, do you see a new face?” Sawyer asks, to which Renner replies, “No, I see a lucky man.”