Race to save his workmate

02:38, Apr 28 2014
Southland Times photo
Gore man Justin Maclean is greeted by his father, Jack, who says he will look after his son while he recuperates.

Working the log rings at his end of the wood processor, Darren Scannell was surprised to see the bloke on the other end - Justin Maclean - had thrown his glove into the machine.

Seconds later, Scannell knew it wasn't only his workmate's orange glove that had passed through the cutting blades and on to his side of the machine.

"When the blade moved back up Justin was standing there holding on to his forearm with his arm squirting blood about a metre into the air," Scannell recalled.

Darren Scannell
SHOCKED: It took a while for Darren Scannell to realise it wasn't just a glove his workmate was missing.

"That's when I though oh s..., that's not just his glove sitting on that ring."

A lack of first aid training did not stop Scannell's instincts from kicking in and he grabbed his hoody to try to staunch the flow.

"I jammed the hoody on to the end of Justin's stump, or whatever you call it, and tied it off with the hoody's arms," he said.


Maclean's car was parked nearly 500 metres from the work site and the pair set off.

"I started moving Justin up the track but after 15 metres I ran back for his hand, which we'd forgotten," Scannell said.

They reached Maclean's car with the wound still spraying blood all over the vehicle and the pair. "There was blood all over my face, all over my arms," Scannell said.

A disqualified driving licence was not enough to deter Scannell from getting behind the wheel and racing to find help for his workmate. "I think you are allowed to drive if it's a medical emergency," he said.

However, Scannell decided he did not want to risk getting pulled over for speeding with Maclean beside him and his life in the balance.

"I headed for the Mataura police station which was closest, hoping to hand Justin over to them."

Maclean was supported into the back of Constable Martin Cupit's police car but was reluctant to take his hand with him.

"When I went to hand Justin his left hand in the back of the cop car, he goes ‘I don't bloody want that!' I said you are going to want it," Scannell said.

"So I put it between his feet in the back of the police car and watched them race away with the lights flashing."

Left alone, covered from head to foot in blood, Scannell had to wait outside the Mataura police station for a ride home.

Maclean was later flown to Christchurch Hospital, where his hand was reattached.


The Southland Times