SK Sacred Heart pupil Huguan Isaac Linus was playing near a drain with a group of friends when one of them apparently stepped on a loose iron rod, which sprang up, went through the boy's mouth before one end of it exited through his right cheek about 12.50pm.
The three-foot long iron rod was lodged in the boy, who remained calm despite the severity of the freak mishap and the fuss the adults were making all around him, until he got to hospital where doctors had to surgically remove it.
Women and Children's Hospital Likas Director Dr Tan Bee Hwai said doctors successfully withdrew the metal bar during a 35-minute operation.
"The rod went in through the mouth and punctured through the right cheek," he said.
Dr Tan said the boy was taken to the operating room at 3.55pm for removal of the metal rod, clean the wound and to stitch the puncture back.
"The boy is now well, stable and awaiting recovery," he said, adding that the boy is still being warded.
"After surgery we need to check the wound to see whether or not it is clean and see if we missed anything and see if we need to put on the next stitch, all this needs to be reviewed a few hours after the procedure," he said.
"All looks well, not a complicated removal. However, it is most unfortunate that a person got his cheek injured in such manner which is not normal, we are all relieved and happy that the patient is well," he added.
Nine personnel from the Kota Kinabalu Fire and Rescue Department who rushed to the scene escorted the injured boy to the hospital.
State Education Director Datuk Jame Alip also visited the site after being alerted of the incident.
"We will instruct every school management to inspect and make necessary repairs to locations which might put our children's safety at risk, particularly in school compounds," said Jame.
City Police Chief ACP Jauteh Dikun confirmed the case but said no police report was lodged.