Picture this: A 63-year-old woman with with one arm stuck in a post box, desperately trying to summon help from passing motorists with the other.

That was Christchurch grandmother Teresa Taylor's dilemma two weeks ago on the corner of Caspian St and Rocking Horse Rd.

"I've posted dozens of letters at that post box ... Sometimes if it's quite windy, the letter will come out of the box as you slide it in. I pushed it right in. My two flat rings on my right hand finger had gone through, which had jammed my fingers in the slot of the mail box. I was stuck."

She tried desperately to pull her hand free, but nothing worked. Her 4-year-old grandson, Alex, whom she has just picked up from kindergarten was sitting in the car. So was Mrs Taylor's cellphone.


"I kept pulling and pulling. I didn't care about the pain or my rings ... I could feel my hand getting fatter."

For 15 minutes she desperately waved to passing cars in the hope they would stop. But the drivers generally waved back, unaware of her predicament. Finally a motorist stopped. He tried to free her, but couldn't. So he called the Fire Service.

"Four good-looking firemen" came to her rescue, she said. "They came down so quickly which was great. My fingers were free in a few minutes."

Wainoni station officer Mark Elstone thought communications were joking when the call came through. "I thought 'how the hell do you get your hand stuck in a post box?'."

Equipped with a special tool, the crew managed to lift the slot up just enough for Mrs Taylor to get her very sore hand out.