Teenager impaled on batten

MATT BOWEN
Last updated 05:00 16/01/2013

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LATEST: A teenage tourist was impaled on a wooden post yesterday after the mini-bus in which he was travelling lost control and smashed into a fence.

The resulting injury was described as a "penetrating" chest wound.

Doctors successfully extracted the projectile and the teenager is stable in a ward this morning.

Sergeant Jason Shailer, of Putaruru Police, said emergency services were called to a road crash about 12.30pm.

An initial scene examination on State Highway 5 in Tapapa, about 15 kilometres east of Tirau, showed the driver had lost control while negotiating a moderate right-hand bend.

The rear of the bus hit an earth bank and a wooden fence, Mr Shailer said.

One of the fence post's battens sheared off, smashed through the bus window and punctured a Chinese 17-year-old's chest.

A Westpac Waikato air ambulance spokesman, who took the teenager to Waikato Hospital, said it was the only injury in the accident.

It is understood about 15 people were on board the bus.

The spokesman said the fence batten pierced the teenager's chest just below his shoulder.

"He was extracted from the back of the bus and taken to hospital in the air ambulance sitting up with a fence batten impaled in his chest," the spokesman said.

"It's probably missed [his vitals] so I suspect he'll do just fine."

The teen was "very good, all things considered".

"He's obviously very aware of what's happened to himself and he just allowed the medics and transport people to get on with the job."

The teenager was under assessment in the emergency department yesterday afternoon.

The operation to remove the piece of wood from the left side of his chest was successful.

Mr Shailer said the road was restricted to one lane of traffic for about 90 minutes after the crash.

The bus was removed for examination and a decision on whether charges will be laid will be made during the next few days.

The other passengers spent the afternoon recovering from the ordeal at the Fitzgerald Glade Cafe, before a replacement bus picked them up.

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- Waikato Times

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