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Last Updated: Monday, 1 May 2006, 14:42 GMT 15:42 UK
Impaled man 'on park short cut'
Thomas Kavanagh
Thomas Kavanagh said the railings went through his hand and arm
A 26-year-old man who became impaled on park railings has said it happened as he was attempting to take a short cut.

Thomas Kavanagh said the incident, which happened in Belfast's Botanic Gardens at about 1900 BST on Saturday, had been a "frightening experience".

Speaking from his hospital bed, Mr Kavanagh said the railings went through his hand and arm as he climbed over.

"I can't remember the incident happening - I can't remember any pain or anything," he told the BBC.

"All I can remember is seeing my arm with a big metal thing stuck through it."

One railing spike pierced his hand and travelled up his arm, while another missed a main artery by inches.

Mr Kavanagh said he was "pretty scared" but "didn't know how serious it was" at the time.

He said he was fortunate that a woman had heard his cries for help and called the emergency services.

'Delicate operation'

Staff from Queen's University helped support him until fire and ambulance crews arrived.

Speaking on Saturday, Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service assistant group commander John Langtry said freeing Mr Kavanagh had been a "delicate operation" for fire crews.

"When we cut a large part of railing away like that, it's very heavy and it's very difficult to keep it stable," he said.

"Of course every movement is transmitted straight to the casualty impaled on the railings so it is vital that we keep the vibration, movement, heat, everything down to a minimum.

"It takes some delicate choreography to make sure that it all goes smoothly... We don't want to cause him any more injury."

Mr Langtry praised the efforts of university staff in supporting the injured man.

"They certainly succeeded in preventing him from getting any further injury," he said.

Impaled man freed from railings
30 Apr 06 |  Northern Ireland

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