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Washing machine man comes clean

Mooroopna's Laurence Hearn was initially embarrassed to talk about the naked game of hide-and-seek that earned him worldwide fame. That has since changed.

CHLOE WARBURTON January 9, 2014 4:56am

Laurence Hearn is the Mooroopna resident that got himself jammed in a washing machine on Saturday, January 4.


A game of hide-and-seek gone wrong left Mooroopna’s Laurence Hearn jammed naked in a washing machine for almost an hour — and gained him worldwide fame.

On Monday, The News was the first to report emergency services had to rescue a Mooroopna man, 20, who had become stuck in a washing machine on Saturday.

When we contacted the sheepish Laurence on Monday, he said he would rather not speak about it, but the story kept gaining momentum.

By Tuesday, national and international news outlets had picked up his escapade.

His story was told across the world and even ended up on the notorious celebrity gossip website perezhilton.com.

Since Monday, the story on www.sheppnews.com.au has been viewed more than 19700 times and the video has been viewed more than 130000 times.

Yesterday, Laurence only had a few bruises and scratches left from his ordeal, but his new-found fame was starting to sink in.

‘‘It’s shocked me,’’ he said.

‘‘I thought it was just going to be a local thing, but it went worldwide as well ... For the first little bit I was embarrassed, I just wanted to hide away and maybe stay quiet, but once it got a bit bigger, I thought, ‘Oh well, it’s a small town and everyone’s going to find out, so I thought I’d just embrace it’.’’

Laurence said he climbed into the washing machine as part of a game of hide-and-seek and was naked because he was about to have a shower, but he soon realised he was stuck fast.

‘‘It was just a bit of hide-and-seek, I hadn’t hidden there before — you can only hide in cupboards and stuff so much, so I thought this might be different,’’ he said.

‘‘After about 15 minutes I tried to get out myself, then I realised I was wedged in, so I had to call for help from a friend. Then after another 15 minutes we realised we’d have to call someone else. The way I was sitting with crossed knees, my legs went a bit numb. .. (there was) a bit of panic and stuff from a confined space, I had to have the oxygen mask.’’

Emergency services — including police, firefighters, paramedics, Tatura State Emergency Service and Shepparton Search and Rescue Squad — took 20 minutes to free Laurence.

They tried body wash and shampoo before olive oil finally did the trick.

They were able to push the machine on to its side and remove panels to pull him out.

The response since has been overwhelming and Laurence is hoping it could help him find some work, but he knows the fuss will blow over soon.

‘‘I’ve had a few influential people message me, so hopefully that’ll work in the career side,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s just a trend anyway, I’m just going to soak it up.’’

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