Boy hurt in cable reel left by the contractors

By Doug Laing


Contractors moved quickly today to secure a large and empty cable drum on which a boy was injured as children turned the equipment into a giant mouse-wheel near a popular Hastings amusement park.

The boy, eight-year-old Isaiah Buchanan, was taken to hospital by ambulance after being caught between the large roller and it's support structure and then thrown onto the rock-hard ground on a grass verge near Splash Planet about 7.30pm on Thursday.

But, as the boy recovered the next day at home nearby, on crutches and still in considerable pain, children from the neighbourhood continued playing on the equipment, some telling stories of other injuries received by themselves and their mates.

What had been two days of fun and near tragedy came to an end when contractors arrived mid-morning today, locking the equipment and fencing it to prevent any more misadventures.It took a story in Hawke's Bay Today, sparked by the couple who went to the aid of the screaming boy and who had been unable to contact anyone to secure the site, before action was taken.

Wrongly identified earlier as the company involved, Chorus contacted Hawke's Bay company Unison who directed its sub-contractors to secure the site.

Both companies are involved in UFB roll-out work in Hawke's Bay, but Unison customer services and communications manager Danny Gough confirmed it had been a Unison project.

Concerned for the children's safety and disappointed that the site had been left insecure, it directed the sub- contractors ``to get out there and make it safe.''

Mr Gough said Unison would meet with the sub-contractors on Tuesday to discuss why the equipment had been left unsafe, why it was not locked and secured and ``why it had got to that stage.''

The couple who called the ambulance after finding Isaiah Buchanan in agony  and vomiting where he had landed beneath the giant wheel say they're particularly disappointed with the Hastings District Council's afterhours call service, which referred them to Chorus, and provided a number to call.

The service appeared to have made no attempt to advise council staff, or establish accurately who else should be called, they said.

Alerted to the issue by Hawke's Bay Today, police also had difficulty contacting agencies to deal to the problem.

The injured boy spent several hours in hospital being assessed for injuries, before being discharged close to midnight, said mum Bernadine Pokai.

She and daughter Jazmin Tamou had seen the unladen cable drum the previous day and appreciated the appeal it would have for children, but hoped none of them would play on it.

``It's putting harm in harm's way,'' said Ms Pokai, thankful to those who went to the boy's aid.

As children continued playing on the wheel yesterday, 11-year-olds Seth Chambers and Kauri Niania both spoke of seeing the incident on Thursday evening. When he saw Isaiah convulsing on the ground, Seth ran to get help from his rugby coach nearby.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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