Best friend cradles boy impaled with metal stake

THE best mate of a critically injured 14-year-old with a metal stake stuck in his head cradled him and told him he wasn't going to die as they waited for rescuers.

The boy was conscious and talking despite the appalling injury, which happened when a game of "chicken" went drastically wrong yesterday in the southeastern Auckland district of Beachlands.

The stake had been left out after a real estate open home, and the boys were throwing it into the air and trying to dodge it. But it struck the boy in the head and went in the length of a ballpoint pen.

The boy remains in a critical condition in Auckland's Starship hospital. A spokesman said the 14-year-old's condition was unchanged overnight.

The mother of the best friend, whom the Herald has decided not to name, said the boys were playing with her other children at the time of the catastrophe.

"My [other children] came running up and said, '[The victim] has a pole in his head', so I thought I better go and see what was happening.

"I probably got there about four minutes after it happened and took one look and went weak in the knees."

The woman called emergency services about 4.45pm.

She then quickly drove to the local doctor's surgery and picked up a nurse, who called for a Westpac Rescue Helicopter and provided emergency medical care until an ambulance and firefighters with specialist cutting gear arrived.

The woman's son, who himself has a broken collar bone at the moment, was lying on the ground and cradling his mate's head on his shoulder, while also holding the impaled metal stake still.

"[The victim] was saying, 'I'm dying, I'm dying', and he was saying, 'You're not, you're going to be okay, bro'."

Chief Fire Officer Shane Rutherford of the Beachlands station said the specialist cutting equipment was used to detach part of the stake so the injured boy could be transported by helicopter to hospital.

Mr Rutherford said the special cutter was like a miniature grinder that made no vibrations.

"We had to keep him 100 per cent still. He was very calm and collected, he is very courageous."

Mr Rutherford said he had never seen anything like the accident in his 22 years of firefighting.

"He was very lucky to still be alive; he had somebody watching over him."

Once the stake was detached, the victim was taken to the waiting Westpac Rescue Helicopter in a St John ambulance.

A St John spokesman said the boy was originally assessed as being in a status two, or serious, condition but that was upgraded to status one, or critical.

He was flown to the Starship hospital in Grafton, and it is understood the boy's mother raced there to be at his side.

The mother of the best mate said her son was in shock after the ordeal and they were anxiously waiting for news of his friend's condition and prognosis.

"No matter what happens, we will always be his mate and support him forever. At the moment, we are just hoping for the best."

Police said the accident had not been reported to them.

- NZ Herald



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