UPDATED-Richard Herring and Pieter Theron injured in freak accident

UPDATE: November 17, 2009

In an e-mail received this morning from Haniki Theron , we have received wonderful news about Pieter.

Pieter went out early this morning for a CT scan, came back for his breakfast, and then to physiotherapy. And would you know, they found another pain. They thought he had a heart attack when they turned him
around, all of a sudden a stabbing pain went through the lower part of his left rib. I think it is probably another cracked bone. The doctor said she will check the x-rays to see if it’s serious or not. May not be serious, she has not come in yet.

The physiotherapy really helps a lot. He is completely without pain after a session. I forgot to say that he had a really good night last night. Slept for five hours without waking up. On his left side, hugging a big pillow. The rest of the night he typed all the e-mails in his head he needs to send out, and I had to do the real typing
throughout the day.

Dr. Yot came to inform me that Pieter’s head (CT scan) is perfect!!! Will heal without any problems. Even the blood on the brain is gone. He confirmed that Pieter will be discharged on Thursday, and if it wasn’t for the physio, we could actually go back next week. We will hopefully see someone tomorrow to find out how long he still needs to stay for that.

I have just made a reservation for Thursday to Saturday night in the residence next to the hospital. It will be easy for Pieter to come back for at least those three days. We plan on going back to the guesthouse from early next week.

UPDATE: November 5, 2009

In an e-mail received this morning from Steve Strong, we have received good news.

It is 9:17 PM, Nov. 5, in Bangkok, Thailand.

Richard Herring does not require surgery but must stay in the hospital for another 5 days for bed rest. He does have a fractured hip. He will then require up to two months of physical therapy.

Pieter Theron, team leader from Mongolia, is in Bumrungrad hospital and in ICU still. His wife and a friend are there with him tonight. They have a guest room provided by the hospital.

He has a ruptured disc or fractured vertebrae in his neck, fractured shoulders, fractured scull, and fractured wrist. They may have to do surgery on him on Sunday.  Please pray for any remaining blood in his head to drain or dissolve without incident. He has an excellent team of nurses around him and a neuro surgeon who is watching over him. His mind is sharp and he is alert but in pain.

Thanks for your continued prayers for them both. Our RLT meetings have continued without Richard and Peter and will conclude tomorrow. It has been a heavy last couple of days for all of us.

Please continue to pray for the recovery and healing of Richard and Pieter.

ORIGINAL: (posted November 4, 2009)

I received word this morning that Richard Herring (regional director) and Pieter Theron (Mongolian field director) were injured in a bizarre accident on Wednesday afternoon (Thailand time). Participants of the Asia Pacific Regional Conference in Bangkok attended an elephant show as an outing for the team. While the team was taking pictures, an elephant grabbed Pieter and Richard and threw them about 10 feet into the air. Pieter has a fractured skull and is in critical condition; Richard sustained a broken hip and possible other injuries less serious than Pieter’s.

Please put out a call to prayer for Pieter and Richard in your circle of influence. Additionally, pray for all the participants at the Regional Conference as they respond to the needs of the families of our injured colleagues. I expect, but am not sure, that the final days of the conference will be cancelled. As we get more information, we will communicate with you.

Below is a more detailed account of the accident from Brent and Lisa Liberda, Alliance workers in Mongolia.

Praying with you for Pieter and Richard,

Members of the RLT (regional leadership team) were on their one free afternoon outing to an elephant and crocodile zoo near the Rose Gardens. We all went to the crocodile show and later attended the elephant show. Everyone was sitting in the grandstands as the elephants performed in a field in front of us.

At the end of the show, the park staff brought out bananas, and about 10 elephants lined up at the fence where people could feed the elephants and take pictures in front of them. After most of the crowd was beginning to leave, some of us from the RLT started to feed the elephants and take pictures. Richard and Pieter were getting their picture taken in front of one of the biggest elephants when suddenly the elephant with his trunk threw them both about 10 feet up into the air. Richard landed on the cement, and Pieter fell on his head. It was very serious. A number of us started administering first aid and praying. There wasn’t even a first aid box in the entire park, so we used our shirts and other cloths we could find for compresses and pillows and kept the two men immobile. Both were conscious. Some Christians from other countries who had been there stayed and prayed at a distance. It took about 30 minutes for the first of two ambulances to come, which seemed like an eternity. Two or three from the RLT group went with the ambulances to the hospital.

The two men are currently in a hospital outside the city and will be transferred at 10 p.m. tonight to Vitchayut as the traffic is too bad now. Word from the people at the hospital is that Richard is stable and has a fractured hip. Pieter is in ICU with a fractured skull and is bleeding internally near the brain. He may also have fractured shoulders. The hospital is working on getting a neurosurgeon to the hospital to assess the situation so that Vitchayut will be ready to receive him. The latest news, which is good, is that Pieter’s vital signs are stable and the internal bleeding is minimal.

Please pray for God’s healing touch in the lives of these two men. Pray especially for Pieter, that God would stop the internal bleeding and that he would be able to receive the help he needs in the shortest amount of time. Pray for his wife, Haniki, as she is at the hospital with him and several others. Dr. Benedict in Colorado has been notified of the situation.

Many thanks for your prayers,
David Strong

Thank you for praying for this situation with us!
Brent and Lisa


This just in! As we were preparing to send this e-mail we received the following news. Peter does not need brain surgery. He has some blood on the brain but not enough to require surgery. He has a fractured skull, both shoulders seem to be fractured, and a broken wrist. He is in ICU and will be closely monitored. His internal organs appear to be good and his vital signs appear to be good. He is in the care of good doctors and in one of the nation’s best hospitals. Praise be to God. Please thank all who have prayed and are praying.


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