Farmer pulls 2ft metal spike from his own chest after freak accident

A farmer speared by a 2ft metal tractor spike yanked it from his own chest.

Dennis Bowman, 69, became impaled in the freak accident.

The bale spike just missed his heart, but despite the gaping hole in his chest, he managed to stagger 30 yards to his farmhouse in Penrith, Cumbria, to get help.

A pal then rushed him to a GP’s surgery before an air ambulance took him to hospital.

“I was just doing a bit of maintenance on the tractor, working on my own in the farmyard,” said Dennis, a grandad-of-nine.

“I dropped some fence posts on to the tractor’s loader, and it just tipped over towards me. It just didn’t stop coming. It’s a fairly heavy thing, and it just knocked me down.

“I was down on my knees, and I remember having to push the loader off me, but the spike point still had hold of my clothes. Then I saw the spike coming out of my chest.

“I didn’t know what to think – and I couldn’t work out how it could have happened. There was blood coming out of the hole so I knew it was worse than a sticking plaster job.”

Dennis has shared his story to highlight the lifesaving work of the Great North Air Ambulance that came to his aid after breaking ribs and puncturing one of his lungs.

His wife Barbara, 79, who rang an ambulance and also got a friend to take Dennis to the doctors’ surgery in nearby Kirkoswald.

Within minutes, the Great North Air Ambulance arrived and Dennis was flown to the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle for specialist treatment.

Dennis added : “It hit me slightly to the side. If it had hit me in the middle and got my heart, it wold have been the end of the story. I went into hospital on the Friday and was out by the Monday.

“I never thought I’d need an air ambulance, and I hope I never need them again. But having seen what they do, I can’t fault them.

Air ambulance doctor Theo Weston said: “He clearly did have some pain in his chest, though he may not have been fully aware of the potential for things to go wrong. We knew that the spike had punctured his chest, very close to his heart.

“I don’t think Dennis realised quite what a close call he has had. If the spike had been a millimetre or two either way and had punctured a blood vessel or even his heart, it could have been a completely different story.”

As a charity, GNAAS must raise around £5million every year to survive.

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