ARNHEM LAND, Australia — A 4-year old boy has been freed after his arm was stuck for hours in the first vending machine he’d ever seen.
The nearly six-hour ordeal began Sunday when the child tried to reach into the machine, located in a Melbourne hotel lobby, and became trapped by its anti-theft mechanism.
“We live up in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, and I don’t think he’s seen a vending machine before so he saw the Oreos, and some biscuits and a few other things,” his father Aaron Shorthouse told CNN affiliate 7 News.
Arnhem Land is a very remote, rural region located at the very northern tip of the country. It has a population of about 16,000 spread across 37,000 square miles.
Rescue workers distracted the child, Leo, by showing cartoons to him on their phones and giving him a stuffed toy as they worked to free him but he had to be sedated at times.
“It was (hard to watch), especially seeing a young fellow like this after five and a half hours,” Aaron Shorthouse said.
“He was a bit inquisitive…but he’s good now.”
Metropolitan Fire Brigade’s Steve Watts said , “Look, over the years I’ve attended to several children with their arms in vending machines. This particular one is actually quite heavy duty and a real challenge for us.”
Leo was freed by early evening and sent to the Royal Children’s Hospital in a stable condition.