Boy dragged two storeys by lift cut out with saw

Published: November 6, 2007 | 6807th good news item since 2003

A 7-year-old boy trapped in a lift in his grandparents’ house had to be freed by firefighters using a chainsaw.

Edward Sclater was at the Mt Maunganui house on Saturday when his arm got stuck between the lift floor and wall as he reached to retrieve a ball.

The lift was the type that has only a platform floor, rather than an enclosed carriage, to move up and down the shaft.

Edward’s forearm became wedged between the floor and the shaft wall as the lift was moving.

It moved up two storeys before it stopped and emergency services could be called.

The 7-year-old’s arm was crushed and he spent a night in hospital recovering but, by yesterday, had feeling back in his fingers.

Miraculously, he suffered no broken bones, although the swelling and bruising were severe.

Edward, of Matamata, was reluctant to talk publicly about his ordeal, but his mother Justine told the Herald that he was anxious to thank the two Fire Service crews who spent 20 minutes freeing him, and particularly the officer who cut a hole in the lift floor with a chainsaw to get him out.

“He really wants to see the fireman,” Mrs Sclater said. “He was really the hero of the day.”

Edward had been returning from an outing to the beach with a neighbour of his grandparents.

The neighbour, a man in his 40s, was in the lift of the grandparents’ May St home when Edward reached to retrieve a volleyball.

It was unclear how his arm became wedged in the small gap between the lift floor and walls, or how the volleyball managed to drop into the shaft.

“It was just an absolute freak accident,” Mrs Sclater said. “I absolutely blame no one for it.”

Four firefighters from Mt Maunganui and a second crew from Tauranga rushed to the house, and initially tried to free Edward by using crowbars and wedges to pry the lift floor back.

When those efforts failed, they used a chainsaw to cut a hole in the platform floor.

“He wasn’t keen on the chainsaw right next to his arm, but he was brave,” Tauranga senior station officer Phil Price said.

Soapy water was then used to free Edward’s crushed arm from the cut-out notch of floor.

Mrs Sclater praised the firefighters and said St John ambulance staff had also been great, ringing yesterday morning to check how her son was doing.

Edward’s stay in the new children’s ward at Tauranga Hospital had also been “more than comfortable”.

She said the incident had been very traumatic for her parents, Irene and Colin Thompson, but had not put her son off his visits. “He thinks his granny and granddad are pretty cool.”

Published in Rescues
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