A two-year-old boy's tongue was impaled by a wrought iron
fire poker in a "freak accident" in Hanmer Springs yesterday.
The boy's mother, who was visiting Hanmer with her son, heard
him screaming from another room about 11.30am, a Westpac
Rescue Helicopter spokesman said.
She found a wrought iron fire poker had gone right through
her son's tongue.
"It's actually been impaled in his tongue. We don't know how
he's done it - he may have just fallen down," the spokesman
"His mum heard him scream, but we can't work out how he's
actually created the force to impact it, so we're not sure
... It's one of those sort of freak accidents."
Miraculously, the rest of the boy's mouth was unscathed.
"It could have occluded his whole airway and he could have
been dead, so it's always better than that," the spokesman
The boy had been "really good" despite the injury.
"He was obviously screaming to start off with, but by the
time we got there he was calm and he was quite good,
The mother had also coped well.
"She was quite happy - obviously a few things going on, but
she was good because if she started panicking, he probably
would too. So she did a great job."
The boy was given pain relief and was flown to Christchurch
Hospital to get the poker removed.
The Westpac Rescue Helicopter was also called to the
Motukarara Raceway, on Banks Peninsula, where an 80-year-old
woman had been struck by the wheel of a sulky about 2pm on
The helicopter spokesman said the woman had been in the
birdcage - the area where jockeys get on and off their horses
or sulkies - because she had a horse in a race.
"She was hit very lightly by a sulky that was turning around
... she was knocked to the ground. It wasn't high-impact or
high-speed or anything."
The woman fractured her leg in the fall.
She was in a bit of pain but was "relatively stoic" as she
was flown to Christchurch Hospital.
- By Matthew Backhouse of APNZ