Skip to comments.Truckie 'blew up like balloon' in freak accident
Posted on 05/25/2011 10:06:22 AM PDT by billorites
A New Zealand truck driver who inflated "like a balloon" when he fell buttocks-first onto a compressed air nozzle is being described as lucky to be alive.
While working on Saturday, Steven McCormack slipped between the cab and the trailer of his truck and was impaled in the thigh by a high-pressure air cylinder which saw his body pumped full of compressed air.
The 48-year-old Bay of Plenty truckie told the Whakatane Beacon he felt as if he was going to explode and began to scream as his neck, feet and hands swelled up.
"I was blowing up like a football... it felt like I had the bends, like in diving. I had no choice but just to lay there, blowing up like a balloon," he said.
Workmates rushed to Mr McCormack's aid, turning off the compressed air and packing ice around his swollen neck.
Ambulance officers removed the brass nozzle and rushed him to Whakatane Hospital, where a surgeon treated the injury and drained one of his lungs, which had filled with fluid during the ordeal.
Mr McCormack said doctors later told him that the air separated fat from muscle and they were surprised his skin did not burst.
Now recuperating, he told the Beacon his skin felt "like a pork roast", hard and crackly on the outside but soft underneath.
Treating surgeon Dr Barnaby Smith said by the time Mr McCormack arrived at the hospital, the gas had made its way from his thigh, into his abdominal cavity and chest.
"It even tracked as high as his eyelids - he couldn't open them because they were so swollen," he said.
"He did have gas within the chest cavity compressing the lungs and heart."
Emergency surgery helped relieve the pressure on Mr McCormack's heart and lungs.
"It's not in the textbooks, and it's the first time anyone I know has seen it as well," Dr Smith said.
A hospital spokeswoman said it could have killed Mr McCormack.
"It's fair to say he's lucky to be alive, it was a potentially life-threatening situation," she said.
Dr Smith said Mr McCormack had almost shrunk back to his normal size.
Was hoping for a photo...
Isn’t that how James Bond killed Kanga in “Live and Let Die”?
We have photos from Violet in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory and Harry Potter's Aunt Marge. Is that close enough?
wow, talk about being pumped...
My first thought was ....well, lets just say I didn't think it was an accident.
What happened to Roo?
You can’t make this stuff up.
Yes, thank you for the courtesy. My lack of vision stands corrected. Although, in addition: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2mU6USTBRE
That is exactly what came to mind when I read this.
Watch for this to become a new and popular part of the San Francisco personal entertainment culture.
"He blowed up real good."
PETA would be on the case in a second, if so.
A guy I worked with used an air gun to blow saw dust off his hand, before the reduced pressure guns came into use. He had a cut, and his hand blew up like a balloon. Had to have his hand lanced at the emergency room.
Air brakes line punctured his butt/thigh area and separated the muscle/integument layers as it inflated the space and then spread up into his torso and up to his neck. Whoa.
If he had been inflated in his gut (whether by accident or intent) he would be dead for sure, quickly. Air brake system pressure on a truck system is around 125 psi, so he would have pumped up in the gut and blown up (yuk) rapidly.
This is one weird event and one for the Emergency Med textbooks.
Have slipped between a truck rig and trailer— it’s greasy back there. What may have been happening was he was hooking up the air line from the truck to the trailer brake system, slipped and landed on the truck “spigot” and it turned on.
My thought too, when I first read headline. Reminded of an event, on purpose with a dude inserting his.... into a water intake tube at a hotel pool... weirdos and usu. dumber n’ hell.
I heard of a guy dying when a co-worker stuck an air line up his butt.
Then there was the German zookeeper a few years ago who died when trying to, er, assist a constipated elephant. The animal let loose and the man drowned before anyone could pull him out.
So nice, it was posted twice...and nobody pinged you to either one.
Compressed air enema.
Reminds me of the time we caught a patient on the psych ward who was carrying an old style water-filled fire extinguisher.
When asked why he was taking it into the bathroom, he told us, "___ (another patient) needs an enema."
Sure enough, the other guy was in the bathroom, "waiting for his enema".
It’s possible that they did and I missed it - been busy IRL.
Oh, I see what you mean! Sorry - as I said, busy IRL and buried in pings.
It’s not that freakish of an accident - this is the second one today - Gosh!
Yup, it happened. At a truck tire repair facility. Dude was charged for manslaughter. PSI on a commercial repair air hose is extremely high (so you can “seat” a tire on a wheel round and inflate it rapidly).
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