A kayaker suffered a ghastly injury when a large metal sinker punctured his elbow in a fishing accident on Auckland's Waitemata Harbour on Saturday.
The West Auckland man, a large sinker protruding from his arm, approached North Shore firefighter Adam Williams who was exercising with his crew at the Birkenhead Wharf, and asked for directions to the nearest medical centre.
Williams said the man told them he was heading out to fish from his kayak and was about 100m off the wharf when he was suddenly struck -- and he had no idea what had hit him.
"He thought he had been shot and then he thought he had been hit by a bird but he was tangled up in fishing line as well. And then he saw he had a sinker stuck in his arm," said Mr Williams.
"He was worried the guy who had cast the sinker was going to start to wind it in so he cut it off quickly."
He then paddled back to shore, helped by the fisherman who had accidentally latched on to him.
Mr Williams said the kayaker appeared to be in a lot of pain.
"He was pretty shocked. He looked like he was going to pass out."
Firefighters drove the injured man to Shorecare in Takapuna for treatment.
A photo of the man's arm, the sinker firmly wedged in it, has attracted a lot of attention in fishing circles. Some even suggested it had been photoshopped.
Birkenhead Fire station officer John Barlow said the man was remarkably together given the nasty wound.
"He was so composed about it. He walked over with a big chunk of metal sticking out of it. You don't see that every day."
He said he was lucky to escape even worse injury.
"It could have hit in the face or eye. He could have been in a lot of trouble," he said.
Mr Barlow said the man planned to get in touch with the Birkenhead crew once he had recovered from his ordeal.