The mother of a boy impaled in the head with a metal stake says the family is in deep shock, but is staying hopeful as her son remains in a critical condition.
Struck by a metal real estate agent's stake when a game of "chicken" with his friends went tragically wrong in the southeastern Auckland suburb of Beachlands yesterday, the 14-year-old was conscious and talking despite the appalling injury.
The stake had been left out after a real estate open home, and the boys were throwing it into the air and trying to dodge it. But it struck the boy in the head and penetrated the length of a ballpoint pen.
The boy remains in a critical condition in Auckland's Starship hospital. A spokesman said the 14-year-old's condition was unchanged overnight.
The boy's mother, who the Herald has decided not to name, said her son had surgery overnight.
"He had his operation last night to remove the stake from his head and so they have got him heavily sedated and he has been stable throughout the night."
She said the family was deeply shocked.
"We're okay, we're just going from one thing to the next."
She said her son was sitting down and using his phone when the stake struck him.
"He was sitting looking at his phone and was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But he is okay, so that's wonderful."
The family had been at the hospital all night, rushing to the boy's bedside as soon as they heard about the 4.45pm incident at Sunkist Bay Reserve.
Among the group of boys playing at the park was the victim's longtime best mate.
The mother of the best friend, whom the Herald has also decided not to name, said another of her children alerted her to the catastrophe.
"My [other children] came running up and said, '[The victim] has a pole in his head', so I thought I better go and see what was happening.
"I probably got there about four minutes after it happened and took one look and went weak in the knees."
The woman called emergency services at about 4.45pm.
She then quickly drove to the local doctor's surgery and picked up a nurse, who called for a Westpac Rescue Helicopter and provided emergency medical care until an ambulance and firefighters, with specialist cutting gear, arrived.
The woman's son, who has a broken collarbone, was lying on the ground and cradling his mate's head on his shoulder, while also holding the impaled metal stake still.
"[The victim] was saying, 'I'm dying, I'm dying', and he was saying, 'You're not, you're going to be okay, bro'."
Chief Fire Officer Shane Rutherford of the Beachlands station said the specialist cutting equipment was used to detach part of the stake so the injured boy could be transported by helicopter to hospital.
Mr Rutherford said the special cutter was like a miniature grinder that made no vibrations.
"We had to keep him 100 per cent still. He was very calm and collected, he is very courageous."
Mr Rutherford said he had never seen anything like the accident in his 22 years of firefighting.
"He was very lucky to still be alive; he had somebody watching over him."
Once the stake was detached, the victim was taken to the waiting Westpac Rescue Helicopter in a St John ambulance.
A St John spokesman said the boy was originally assessed as being in a status two, or serious, condition but that was upgraded to status one, or critical.
He was flown to Starship.
The mother of the best mate said her son was in shock after the ordeal and they were anxiously waiting for news of his friend's condition and prognosis.
"No matter what happens, we will always be his mate and support him forever. At the moment, we are just hoping for the best."
Police said the accident had not been reported to them.