Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Wedged in the washing machine

In these days of press consultants and public relations, it's refreshing to find a news story that's totally unspun. Quite literally, that is, in the sad case of Robin Toom.

Toom, 38, lives in Townsville, northern Queensland, and was playing hide and seek with his children one day when he discovered the perfect hiding place. In the washing machine. No one would ever find him there. He could be in there for hours.

Unfortunately for Robin, it turned out to be a rubbish hiding place. For one, his children discovered him in next to no time. "I couldn't even get the lid down and the kids came in and said 'Ha, ha, we found you," he said. And for two, he, well, got stuck. Wedged in an 18-pound capacity washing machine.

Toom spent the next hour inside the machine, trying a variety of methods to extricate himself. At one point, apparently, lubricant was involved. However his best efforts were to no avail, and in the end the local fire department were called.

Various attempts to free Toom - including what the Adelaide Advertiser desribes technically if somewhat clumsily as "a rescue device of seatbelt-like material" - failed, before fire officer Dave Dillon "reached into the machine and managed to free his legs", an idea so inspired, so out there, so brilliant that Toom's wife, sister, brother-in-law and kids, all watching, had never thought to try it. No doubt they were too busy pissing themselves laughing. And taking photos (like this one).

Toom is quoted as saying he plans to change to the rules of hide-and-seek for his children. "I hope they don't go hiding in any washing machines now," he said.

While he's at it, the Toom family should probably clarify the rules on tumble dryers, airing cupboards and microwaves as well. Just to be on the safe side.


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