Woman injured in freak brolly accident

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A teacher hospitalised by a freak umbrella accident has called on Queenstown bars and cafes to ensure outdoor furniture is safe and secure.

Anna Ladbrook, 32, sustained internal bruising and surface skin abrasions and bruising when she was hit by a sun umbrella picked up by wind outside Vudu Cafe on Queenstown waterfront, a fortnight ago.

The resource teacher of learning and behaviour, who lives in Invercargill, was examined at Queenstown Medical
Centre.

But, after catching a flight to Auckland, she ended up in North Shore Hospital A&E as the pain worsened.

Doctors there said she’d bruised her liver.

“You’d never expect it to happen,” she says.

“There was just a small gust of wind and the aluminum umbrella got lifted out of the table.

“I had time to lift my arm up to protect my head before it came back down.

“One of the arms of it ended up hitting me in the stomach.”

Ladbrook says she was winded by the umbrella spoke, which hit her in the solar plexus.

Vudu staff gave her ice and booked a medical appointment for her.

“I can’t speak highly enough of them, they were great, especially the manager Lucy.

“The bruising got worse after I flew to Auckland, so I visited A&E for scans and a check-up.

“It was pretty painful and is still quite tender - it’s a fair bruise just below the ribcage down to the belly button.”

She’s on pain medication and will need to get the bruise checked by a doctor.

One of the conditions of Vudu’s licence is to comply with provisions of the council’s 2006 tables and chairs policy, which states: “Umbrellas must have suitable anchorage to prevent accidents caused by furniture being displaced.”

Vudu co-owner Rae Ellis says the umbrella was secured to the base by a screw but the gust of wind was strong enough to lift it out.

“We’ve now had an engineer come in and add a second safety system, a strong bolt, to ensure this never happens again,” Ellis says.

Ellis and Ladbrook want other premises to be aware of the issue and take measures where necessary.

Ladbrook says: “The scariest thing is it could have been an elderly person, or a child - I’m fairly fit and healthy.

“But I wouldn’t want too much regulation, like America. It’s more relaxed here.”

paul.taylor@scene.co.nz