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Brooklyn Park boy survives monkey bar hanging accident

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A 10-year-old boy was playing on the monkey bars when he slipped, and was hanging from a strap by his neck until other children rescued him, according to reports.

"I thought I was going to die," Gabe West, who turned 10 on Thursday, told KSTP.

Police said Gabe was carrying a strap (see photo) that he'd found when playing on the playground of the Park Haven Apartments in Brooklyn Park Tuesday evening, reports say. When he was climbing on the monkey bars, he slipped and somehow got tangled, hanging himself from the playground equipment by his neck, MPR News reports.

"He had some pretty distinct red marks around his neck where the strap had really dug into his neck," Brooklyn Park Police Commander Mark Bruley told MPR. "So it certainly was a serious incident and he's very fortunate to be OK."

Other children on the playground helped rescue him. When police got to the scene, he was conscious but seemed to have had the wind knocked out of him, reports say.

Gabe was brought to Children's Hospital in Minneapolis. He's still sore and bruised, but he should make a full recovery, KSTP says.

Officials said playground injuries are very common this time of year, but they don't recall anything like this happening, MPR notes.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related injuries. Between 1990 and 2000, 147 children under the age of 14 died from playground-related injuries. Of those, 56 percent died of strangulation.

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