Young girl's leg impaled on tree branch

1:38 pm on 11 January 2018

A young girl was airlifted from Rakino Island in the Hauraki Gulf yesterday afternoon after being impaled on a tree branch.

The Auckland Rescue Helicopter.

The Auckland Rescue Helicopter. Photo: Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust

The Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust said Yasmin Dunn, 9, fell on a tree stump that had a sharp branch sticking out of it, which went through her calf.

Spokesman Lincoln Davies said it was decided to cut the branch off the stump, leaving it stuck in the girl as they flew her to Starship Hospital.

He said she was very distraught, but her parents were with her at the accident site and she had plenty of support.

Medical staff stablise the girl after she accidentally impaled her leg on a tree branch.

Medical staff stablise the girl after she accidentally impaled her leg on a tree branch. Photo: Auckland Rescue Helicopter

Her mother Linda Dunn told RNZ Yasmin went to explore a bush track, tripped and fell onto the log. Mrs Dunn said her daughter was recovering well and the surgeons at Starship Hospital believe Yasmin might have escaped without any nerve or muscle damage.

The Dunn family were on holiday and walked to the beach planning to get on a boat for the day. The kids found a bush track within a few minutes of arriving at the beach.

Mrs Dunn said the next thing she heard was daughter Yasmin's screams in the bush.

"We found her stuck on a branch of a tree in the bush where she'd fallen over and got lodged onto this branch. It went into the back of her leg, in towards her calf muscle."

At Starship, they found out the branch went in to her leg horizontally, missing nerves and calf muscle, damaging the fatty layer under the skin.

"I knew something was really strange. It was a scream that I haven't heard from her before, it's not your usual playground antics screaming. It was unusual, I couldn't read it to be quite honest.

"I knew something was wrong. I really didn't quite know what was going on. I was just trying to get to her as quickly as I could. It wasn't a nice injury to witness let alone it being your own child."

She said her daughter told her that she did not feel any pain initially and thought she had caught her foot between logs.

"It was really terrifying for her.

"When she twisted around to see what was going on that's when she saw what had happened and that's when she started to panic and scream and call for help."

Chopper rescue

The Westpac rescue helicopter was called in and Yasmin was taken to Starship.

Her mum said her daughter coped really well. She said she considered what to do about her daughter's impaled leg, and weighed up whether she should try to lift her off, or try to move the log.

"In the end I needed some advice. One of the lovely locals ... someone rang the medical team and got some good advice and told us to stay put, do not move her and that the chopper would be with us as soon as they could get to her."

Her daughter tripped on a sapling stump and as she fell her leg impaled on a log with pruned, jagged branches. At the emergency department, the branch was removed, the wound cleaned and her calf stitched.

Her husband David and two other children, Joseph, 12 and Katherine, 7, stayed on the island and when Yasmin gets discharged they would make a plan to get everyone home to Manukau in Auckland, she said.

The emergency crews and the people on Rakino Island were wonderful, she said. The condition of the young girl was described as moderate this morning.