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Last Updated: Friday, 3 February 2006, 20:00 GMT
OAP trapped on wire loses a leg
Willie Fraser
Mr Fraser is undergoing surgery to remove his leg
An elderly man who was trapped upside down on a barbed wire fence for 20 hours has undergone surgery to have one of his legs amputated.

Willie Fraser, 83, was suffering from frostbite and extreme hypothermia when he was found near an Inverness golf course on Wednesday.

Mr Fraser became entangled in the fence as he was walking from the cemetery where his wife Janet is buried.

The former quarry worker was found by chance by a friend, Thomas MacLean.

Before going into theatre, the pensioner told nurses he was famous after the media coverage of his ordeal.

I couldn't tell what I was looking at and then I saw a leg up in the air and then I recognised it was Willie
Thomas MacLean

NHS Highland said: "We are pleased to say that Mr Willie Fraser has remained stable overnight and has now gone to theatre.

"His family would like to thank the medical staff and the emergency services for all their work, they would also like to express their gratitude to everyone for their concern.

"They would particularly like to extend their appreciation to Thomas MacLean for finding their dad."

Mr MacLean found Mr Fraser, who served on bombers during World War II, while walking his dog on Torvean Golf Course.

Leg 'solid'

"My dog Sasha started barking," Mr MacLean said, "and then I saw something on the fence. I couldn't tell what I was looking at and then I saw a leg up in the air and then I recognised it was Willie.

"His shoes were off his feet. His trouser leg was pulled down leaving his left leg bare and he only had a sock on his right foot. His leg was just solid.

"I didn't know what to do, to get off the wire or run home and call for an ambulance. I had to stand on one wire and pull the other to get him free."

The fence where Mr Fraser hung upside down

When Mr MacLean asked the pensioner what he wanted him to do, he was told "just take me home and warm me up".

"I told him he would need more help than that and said I'd go and get an ambulance. He said: 'Don't be long'.

"I asked him how long he had been stuck. When he told me three o'clock the previous afternoon goose pimples went up my arms.

"He's a very hardy old man."

'Remarkable spirits'

Mr MacLean said he was amazed Mr Fraser had survived the -7C temperatures.

"If he hadn't been wearing quite a thick jacket he might not have lasted," he said.

"His bonnet had fallen off, but he was just worried that he had lost his new teeth."

Paramedic Pauline Gardiner said: "He said he was looking forward to a cup of tea, a bacon roll and a wee dram. He was in remarkable spirits, it was amazing."

An air ambulance was called to airlift Mr Fraser to Raigmore Hospital.

OAP in 20-hour barbed wire ordeal
02 Feb 06 |  Scotland

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