Quick thinking saves Harvey toddler’s life

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Briana FioreHarvey-Waroona Reporter
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Arlo Panetta, 2, with his grandmother Glenys, Mum Amy Buckland, Dad Damian Panetta and volunteers Paul Beech and Chris Sabourne from St Johns reflect on the scary farm accident that had a good outcome.Picture: Briana Fiore/Harvey-Waroona Reporter
Camera IconArlo Panetta, 2, with his grandmother Glenys, Mum Amy Buckland, Dad Damian Panetta and volunteers Paul Beech and Chris Sabourne from St Johns reflect on the scary farm accident that had a good outcome.Picture: Briana Fiore/Harvey-Waroona Reporter Credit: Briana Fiore/Harvey-Waroona Reporter

A freak accident two weeks ago almost claimed the life of a two-year-old boy in Harvey.

Arlo Panetta was electrocuted twice, the second shock leaving him unconscious in a pool of water.

He suffered a 40-minute seizure and was left frothing at the mouth on the family farm on Forestry Road.

Arlo had been playing in a ditch under the watchful eye of his grandfather when water began filling the hollow.

As water rushed in, Arlo tried to get out but the wet hat he was wearing struck an electric fence. Arlo cried out, lifted his head a second time, and was electrocuted again.

The force of the second shock threw him clear of the fence but left him unconscious in the water.

I grabbed him and ran like hell.

Arlo’s grandfather Cosi Panetta

Harvey toddler Arlo Panetta received a double electric shock to his head after coming into contact with an electric fence.

He was standing in water which amplified the voltage, hurling him from the fence as he faded out of consciousness.

Arlo, 2, was rushed to Harvey Hospital and immediately flown to Perth Children’s Hospital.

His quick-thinking grandfather along with his grandmother and mother, who are both nurses, helped save Arlo’s life.

Arlo is an outgoing, chatty and resilient little toddler. His family describe him as “a busy little farm boy who lives in the paddock”.

Arlo’s grandfather Cosi Panetta said it was just a usual day on the farm when the harrowing incident happened.

“He was following the water in the ditch and I called him back, but as the water gushed through he hit his head on the electric fence,” Mr Panetta said.

He lifted his head and his wet hat struck the fence again knocking him out cold, he just turned white. I grabbed him and ran like hell.

Cosi Panetta

An emotional Amy Buckland, who is a nurse, called triple 0 and said her whole brain shut down when it was her baby battling for his life.

But heroic grandmother Glenys Panetta stayed calm as she tried to stimulate Arlo’s breathing, before St John Ambulance arrived.

Arlo was flown to Perth Children’s Hospital because of his 40-minute long seizure and the affect on his heart and brain.

Arlo has since returned home, fully recovered with a message for St John’s.

Thank you for saving me,

Arlo

The family said they were eternally grateful for Paul Beech and Chris Sabourne at St John Ambulance.

Mr Beech said Harvey’s St John unit was crying out for volunteers.

Had this happened a day later, our centre would have been closed and the family would have been waiting on Waroona or Brunswick to attend.

Paul Beech

Mr Sabourne said any accident that involved a child is devastating, recalling signing up to volunteer after losing his own daughter when she was just three-years-old.

Ms Buckland said she had since signed up to be a driver for St John.

“Don’t let something bad happen to your family before you realise how important it is to sign up,” she said.

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