A man gored in the stomach by a longhorn cattle beast is today in a stable condition in hospital.
The 61-year-old man was lifted several times in the air by the animal after he tried to move it in a paddock at Woodville, east of Palmerston North, about 2.30pm yesterday.
He was with two other people, who watched on in horror as the beast's horn went into his torso near his stomach and chest. The animal lifted him up and down off the ground and left him with life-threatening injuries.
An ambulance was called and paramedics treated the man, who was still conscious, until the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter arrived to airlift him to hospital.
A hospital spokesman said the man was in a stable condition in the intensive care unit.
Rescue Helicopter base manager and pilot Chris Moodie told the Herald that the witnesses said the beast had become agitated.
"Clearly it meant to harm him, he has been genuinely attacked," he said.
"But what caused that, we don't know."
He spoke with the witnesses, who were shaken by what they had seen, and managed to work out "the mechanics" of what had happened - where the horns had penetrated the man and how deep.
"He was very seriously injured. There's no doubt about that."
Federated Farmers Manawatu/ Rangitikei president Andrew Hoggard said it was very unusual for someone to be gored.
"To actually be gored is pretty rare, usually (beasts) are de-horned," he said.
"It wouldn't be uncommon to hear of a crushing injury when you're in the yards or working with bulls. But it's pretty rare to hear of someone being gored."
He said anyone working with such large animals needed to be extra careful to avoid injury.
"The main thing I tell my staff when dealing with stock is to keep their wits about them, never turn your back on them and always know what your escape plan is - what way you're going to run and what fence you're going to jump over, and whether you can actually make it over the fence.
"When you're dealing with potentially stressed animals you should always have a couple of people with you. It's safety in numbers."
- With APNZ