Man's hands crushed in hay feeder

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 14:45 19/06/2014

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It took a bit of Kiwi ingenuity from rural firefighters to free a man who got his hands trapped in a hay feeder today.

The man suffered serious injuries to both hands after they were crushed while he was working on the rural Southland property this morning.

Emergency services rushed to the scene, near Waikaia, just after 9am.

Waikaia chief fire officer Ross Sage said his crew and a crew from Lumsden arrived just after an ambulance.

A man had both his hands trapped in the hay feeder and paramedics had hurried to treat his pain, Sage said.

However, when fire crews tried to free the man they ran into problems. The Lumsden crew had arrived with their cutting gear but the jaws of life weren’t believed strong enough to slice through the thick metal pipes on the feeder, Sage said.

"They are good for cars at a crash but it’s a different matter with two-inch metal pipes."

Lumsden firefighter Rob Scott said a similar hay feeder in the same paddock proved invaluable to the extraction efforts.

"We went and studied the other feeder to find a way to free the bloke," Scott said.

When a possibility was found, the Lumsden crew ripped off the balage that sat in the way and got to work.

"We decided we could use the hydraulic ram to pry the parts that had crushed his hands apart and get him out," Scott said.

Both Scott and Sage said it was not clear how the man got his hands trapped and that volunteer firefighters often had to think on their feet.

The man was flown to Dunedin Hospital with serious hand injuries.

However, Scott said he was a tough character: "He still managed to keep a sense of humour and make a few hand jokes during his ordeal".

Police said WorkSafe New Zealand had been told about the incident. 

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- The Southland Times

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