The "kiss of life" from a distraught father on a Hawke's Bay beach saved the life of a young schoolboy who had been dragged behind a bolting horse.
As his 7-year-old son, Lincoln, lay bruised, bloodied and battered on the sands of Akitio Beach late Saturday afternoon, Rodney Eastwood carried out life-saving CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), after the young Akitio schoolboy had been dragged along the beach by his horse.
"There were three things which saved Lincoln's life on Saturday," his grandmother, Brenda Dodunski said. "He was wearing a helmet, his father knew how to do CPR and thankfully, the stirrup broke."
Lincoln, is a typical "country kid", Mrs Dodunski said. "He's active and loves being outside."
During the afternoon, after returning from JAB rugby in Dannevirke, Lincoln went riding along Akitio Beach on a horse the family has owned for just two months. With his father leading the horse which the family says is "real placid", Lincoln was set to enjoy the outdoors.
However, fun turned to horror when the horse decided to drop to the ground and roll in the sand, trapping a terrified Lincoln, screaming underneath.
"The next thing the horse had bolted, dragging Lincoln with him," Mrs Dodunski said. "It was horrendous, he was being bashed and belted by the hooves. By the time Rodney got to him, after the stirrup broke, he wasn't breathing."
With his son cut, bruised, bleeding and his entire body battered, Mr Eastwood undertook CPR to revive him.
"A call was put in to the Square Trust Rescue helicopter in Palmerston North, but it was on another mission, so the Westpac Rescue chopper from Wellington was called, but said it was unable to attend," Mrs Dodunski said.
When nurse Kate Ramsden arrived on the scene, she realised the severity of Lincoln's condition, and another call was made to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.
On Akitio Beach, with Lincoln drifting in and out of consciousness, his family, desperate to keep him conscious, told the 7-year-old he could even swear. "He said 'bloody hell'," his mother Joanne Dodunksi said.
The remote Akitio location meant the ambulance from Pongaroa didn't arrive until an hour after the accident and the Westpac helicopter didn't leave the beach until approximately 6pm, almost two hours after the traumatic accident.
Lincoln was transferred to Wellington Hospital's ICU and kept sedated. His injuries included a broken arm, a broken skull and his body was a mass of bruises and blood.
After hours of emergency tests on Sunday, hospital staff members kept a close watch on a blood clot on Lincoln's brain.
But there was positive yesterday, with Lincoln transferred to a ward in a stable condition.