Sunday, August 06, 2006


Man Impaled by Steel Stake on Birthday
Aug 4, 4:31 PM (ET)

NORTHAMPTON, Pa. (AP) - Enjoying a relaxing 54th birthday in the yard, Mike Colwell went to move the sprinkler, backing up momentarily to avoid the spray, toward a horseshoe pit with a 1-inch-thick rusty steel stake.

"My two heels hit the back wall of the pit. The next thing I know, this thing just tore through me," Colwell said.

As he fell on the stake, it pierced into his buttocks, fractured his pelvis, and came within a millimeter of his iliac artery, which carries blood to the body's lower extremities.

"I just felt something tearing right through my leg for 5 or 6 inches. I don't know how else to describe it. I just knew I had to concentrate on staying awake and not pull myself off the stake," he said.

Colwell yelled, and his wife, Linda, and daughter, Ashley, a nurse, came running. "I saw that he was impaled on this stake and bleeding. I just got on the phone and called 911," Ashley said.

Police and paramedics sawed at the stake while Colwell's son, Chris, 26, gripped it so it wouldn't cause more damage. An ambulance rushed Colwell to a waiting helicopter, which flew him to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia.

Three surgeries later, Colwell, a Verizon lineman, was still in the hospital Thursday, hoping to go home on the weekend, and grateful for his luck. "A millimeter away and it could have buried me," he said by phone. Back at the house, Chris Colwell removed the horseshoe stakes from the yard, saying it was a game his dad rarely played.


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