It took twelve emergency personnel, including firefighters, police officials, paramedics and a locksmith, nearly five hours to release a four-year-old boy's hand caught in the anti-theft mechanism in a vending machine in Melbourne on 28 February. Leo Shorthouse had slid his hand in the dispensing slot of a vending machine at an apartment block on Lonsdale street in the city centre when his hand was caught.
According to a spokesman for the Melbourne Fire Brigade: "[It was] quite a difficult operation... he really rammed his hand up there." The spokesman said the anti-theft mechanisms in the vending machine were acting "like traps".
Leo lives in a small town, Nhulunbuy, located in north-east Arnhem Land and his father believes it was the four-year-old's curiosity that led to the unlikely incident. "I don't think he's seen a vending machine before, so he saw the Oreos and some biscuits and some other things...He's fine after five-and-a-half hours. He was a bit inquisitive, he put his hand in the vending machine, but yes he's good now," said Aaron Shorthouse, reported ABC News Online.
Leo was reportedly sedated several times during the procedure since he was scared. Angle grinders had to eventually be used to break open the vending machine but the operation had to be conducted very slowly to prevent further injury.
Following the incident, Leo reportedly has been so inspired by firemen that he wants to be one, said his mother Dr. Molly Shorthouse. "I had to hear him crying down the phone," said Dr. Molly. "It takes a special kind of person to choose such a career and they all proved that...As a mental health doctor I often see the effects of trauma in emergency workers, and I don't think the public realise just how intense the work is that they do."