A Chinese schoolboy narrowly escaped death after being accidentally shot through the head with a 16-inch arrow.

The arrow pierced Liu Cheong's eye socket, traveled through his head and lodged in the back of his skull.

The 11-year-old only survived because the arrow missed his brain.

"If the arrow had been shot with just a bit more force, it would have come out the back of his head," said medics at Jida Hospital in Changchun, eastern China.

Surgeons chipped away at parts of the boy's skull for more than four hours to remove the arrow, which had sunk more than four inches into his head.

"It is a miracle he survived the accident," said one medic.

Doctors have warned his parents he still faces a risk of infection and even further operations.

Teachers at Liu's school believe the accident happened when the young archers were practicing on their own.

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