Impaled by a 1.8-metre metal rod – now he’s running the Comrades


In ten days time‚ Daniel de Wet will be running the Comrades ultramarathon‚ a remarkable feat of recovery after he was impaled by a 1.8-metre metal rod.

A Lodox scan image shows how the industrial crowbar penetrated Daniel de Wet’s body, going in between his legs and coming out his back, just below his shoulder blade Picture: NETCARE MILPARK HOSPITAL

“Just three-and-a-half years ago‚ my wife and colleagues were praying for my survival‚ and when I was able to walk out of the hospital only 19 days later‚ we regarded it as a miracle from God. To think that I have now successfully qualified to take on the Comrades Marathon once more is truly remarkable and every day I am so grateful for the recovery I have made‚” said De Wet.

The unusual injury occurred in January 2015‚ when De Wet‚ an engineering supervisor‚ was working on washing out a dam 3.5km underground at a mine in Carletonville‚ using an extended crowbar to stir up the mud‚ when he suddenly slipped.

The metal bar had penetrated his body‚ entering his groin area and coming out of his back‚ just below his shoulder blade.

He was treated by paramedics and airlifted to hospital in Johannesburg where he was assisted by two trauma surgeons.

Netcare Milpark Hospital explained that once the extended crowbar was pulled completely free of De Wet’s body‚ the doctors saw that the impalement had caused significant damage‚ destroying one kidney and damaging his small bowel and numerous blood vessels. Despite losing a kidney‚ he recovered well after treatment.

De Wet said: “I will never forget what the Netcare Milpark Hospital team and (surgeon) Professor Kenneth Boffard did for me in saving my life.”

“I still feel blessed every single day to be alive.”

Before the accident‚ De Wet ran the Comrades Marathon six times. “During my initial recovery after the accident‚ it seemed to me that I would never be able to take part in (the event) ever again‚” he said.

On June 10‚ when he tackles the challenge of this year’s Comrades Marathon with his running club‚ the Carleton Harriers‚ wearing race number 49470‚ he is dedicating his run to the healthcare specialists who treated him as well as all rescue workers‚ paramedics and firefighters in South Africa.

Daniel de Wet and his wife Lizl, photographed on day 15 of his 19-day recovery at Netcare Milpark Hospital. De Wet was impaled by a metal industrial crowbar while working at a gold mine near Carletonville, Gauteng
PIcture: Netcare Milpark Hospital

Said De Wet: “I would really like to thank every person who dedicates himself or herself to saving lives and giving people like me a second chance.”

– TimesLIVE

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