A boy and a girl from South El Monte High School in California were rushed to a local trauma centre on Monday afternoon (NZT Tuesday) after their fingers were cut off during a tug-of-war at lunchtime, fire and school district officials said.
The students have undergone surgery to reattach the severed digits, El Monte Union High School District Superintendent Nick Salerno said.
‘‘I’m a dad too, and my heart goes out to these kids and their families. To me the whole thing is unbelievable,’’ Salerno said.
‘‘I’ve been in tug-of-wars myself, more than I can even count, and I’ve never heard anything like this.’’
Salerno said the two teens, who have not been identified by authorities, were both student athletes participating in annual activities designed to boost school spirit and participation.
‘‘The activity that day was tug-of-war. Unfortunately the rope broke and both students had some fingers severed,’’ he said, adding that he had no further details on how the injuries occurred.
A spokesman for Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center said both students were listed in stable condition. He declined to elaborate on their condition or the outcome of the surgery.
Salerno said the school district had provided counselling for students at South El Monte High School, which serves about 1500 students in El Monte, a city of about 115,000 people in the San Gabriel Valley north of Los Angeles.