By Janet Tappin Coelho
A 12-year-old boy had to be rescued from a tree trunk after chasing a rabbit into a hole and getting stuck.
Unlike Alice in Wonderland, the teen from Ponta Grossa, in south Brazil, was trapped inside the tree for TWO hours before he was freed.
Only his feet and flip flops could be seen sticking out from the hole as rescuers attempted to save him.
The youngster told fire fighters he had been trying to save a rabbit he believed was stranded inside the tree.
The adolescent, whose name was withheld to protect his identity, said: “I saw the rabbit run into the tree trunk and when it didn’t come out I thought it had got stuck.
“I decided to try to find it and save it. But when I entered the hole I found I couldn’t get back out.”
Fortunately, passers-by raised the alarm after several attempts to pull him out from the base of the tree failed.
A team of eight emergency workers were forced to hack away parts of the trunk and dig down under the roots to release the kid from the burrow.
Lieutenant Matheus Justino Cândido, in charge of the operation which took place in February this year, said: “We usually rescue cats stuck up a tree but this is a first for us to save a boy trapped in the belly of a tree.”
He said releasing the lad was more complicated and took longer than anticipated.
He added: “The boy’s upper body was wedged inside internal growths in the tree in such a way that it was impossible to just tug him out.
“We had to be sure that we didn’t destabilise the structure by digging away at roots that would undermine it and cutting parts of the tree that would end up collapsing on boy.
“We had to progress really slowly and check at each stage we were working in the right way and in the right areas so we could get him out safely.”
Rescuers shone torches into the dim gap where the child was trapped. And the boy was given protective glasses to prevent debris falling into his eyes.
The grateful youngster was pulled free without suffering any injuries and declined to be taken to hospital for a check-up.
According to the rescuers the bunny made a quick getaway.
They said: “As soon as the boy entered the tree the rabbit had the common sense to escape and was not seen again.”