Police in Central Otago have arrested a man who threatened another man with a chainsaw during an argument.
The incident happened at a service station in Alexandra at 2.30pm, police said.
Witnesses immediately called police, but both men left the area once they realised police were on the way.
A 45-year-old Roxburgh man handed himself in at Alexandra Police Station a short time later, bringing the chainsaw with him, police said.
He has been charged with assault with a weapon and will appear in Alexandra District Court tomorrow.
The other man, a 43-year-old from Alexandra, was unhurt.
Senior Sergeant Ian Kerrisk said the men had become involved in a "heated argument" that ended with one man taking a chainshaw from the boot of his car, starting it, and moving towards the other while the chain was running.
The men knew each other and there was "some long-standing ill-feeling between the two," he said.
"This is an act of stupidity with a huge potential for serious injury given a chainsaw was involved.
"It is aggravated by the fact that it occurred on the main street of Alexandra in the middle of the afternoon with members of the public both at the service station and passing by."
While it all happened "pretty quickly" and the chainsaw had been put away, it could have easily ended in tragedy if one of the men had tripped or stopped suddenly, Kerrisk said.
"We are very lucky that everyone escaped without injury, as witnesses describe the chainsaw as getting very close to the other man involved."
Kerrisk reassured the public that it was an isolated incident and "extremely rare" in the area.
"This is certainly something that is unusual for Alexandra," he said.
Victim Support would work with those who witnessed the incident.