Toddler's hand severed in factory accident
The 18-month-old is injured at a Kalihi chocolate factory
An industrial accident severed the hand of an 18-month-old girl while her family was on a tour of the Menehune Mac Chocolate Center & Gift Factory in Kalihi yesterday.
The accident happened on the last day of the company's Fifth Annual Mother's Day Candy Making Event, a fundraiser for the Hawaii Children's Cancer Foundation.
Honolulu Fire Department officials said the girl got her left hand caught in a conveyor belt at around 11:13 a.m. just up the street from one of their Kalihi-Kai fire stations, at the factory located at 707-A Waiakamilo Road.
According to fire officials, when crews got on scene two minutes later Menehune Mac workers had already bandaged the girl up and had retrieved her hand, which had been severed just above the wrist.
CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Menehune Mac Chocolate Center & Gift Factory is located at 707 Waiakamilo Road in Kalihi.
"Our guys just put it in a bag on ice, just to preserve it in case doctors are able to do anything with it," said HFD spokesman Capt. Chris Ah Mook Sang.
Ah Mook Sang said fire crews also tried to comfort the girl until paramedics arrived and took her to the Queen's Medical Center. Ah Mook Sang said according to fire crews, the girl's mother was with her three other children while the victim was with another person when the accident happened.
Student volunteers with the Hawaii Children's Cancer Foundation said they heard screams after the incident happened, but did not know how the infant was hurt.
The chocolate company opens its factory line just before Mother's Day to allow people to make their own chocolate macadamia nut candies and decorate special boxes for an $8 or $13 donation to the cancer foundation.
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Keao Ashley, 6, gets some hands-on experience making gourmet chocolate last Sunday during the annual event put on by Menehune Mac at their candy factory for Mother's Day. Yesterday, an 18-month-old girl's arm was severed by a conveyor belt at the facility.
Yesterday afternoon, Neal Arakaki, president of Menehune Mac, said his employees had given him different accounts of how the infant was injured, and he was trying to sort through them.
"We feel so bad about this," he said. "This is something truly out of the ordinary. Everyone's just really shook up."
Arakaki said the factory was sanitized after the accident and that chocolate-making resumed in a different area of the factory yesterday. According to the company's Web site, the event requires participating children to be at least 7-years-old because of insurance restrictions.
Arakaki said he planned to discuss safety measures with his staff to determine whether any policies were breached, and decide whether new rules need to be made.
"We extend our condolences to the family," he said. "We're definitely going to be following up with them."