Man crushed by 700kg silage bale praises rescuers

JAY BOREHAM
Last updated 09:24 06/03/2014
Silage Bale

CRUSHED: Westpac rescue helicopter staff arrive as St John paramedics attend to Tom Austin after he was crushed by a silage bale.

Tom Austin
BED-BOUND: Tom Austin is still in Auckland City Hospital after the accident and can't wait to get home in several weeks.

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A man crushed by a silage bale hopes to be able to learn to walk again in several weeks.

Tom Austin is grateful to the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust for giving him the chance.

"I think I owe my life to them," he says.

Mr Austin, who farms at Tomorata, was working for a rural contractor on February 5 and tying down a load of silage bales on a truck at a Tapora farm about 100 kilometres north of Auckland when one came loose and rolled towards him. The 700-kilogram bale struck his shoulder, knocked him to the ground and rolled over his body.

He suffered a broken sternum and ribs, a bruised lung and internal bleeding when his pelvis was shattered into four pieces.

The Westpac rescue helicopter was called to take him to Auckland Hospital.

He nearly died from internal bleeding and believes the speed of the helicopter saved his life.

Mr Austin has been in hospital since the accident. His bones need to heal before he can start rehabilitation and learn to walk again.

"I'm lying in bed wishing I can get out, but I have another three weeks to go."

Mr Austin says one of the first things he will do is visit the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust with a well-earned donation.

"As soon as I can get up and get the money they will get one from me."

He encourages others to do the same.

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- Rodney Times

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