Mechanical airway obstruction secondary to retropharyngeal bleeding is rare. In most cases such a complication is described after head and neck trauma. Complicating factors include anticoagulant therapy, tumour, aneurysm, infection or major cervical spine injury. A precise initial diagnosis is necessary to avoid a life-threatening situation. Lateral X-ray and computed tomography is essential for safe management. Treatment depends upon size of the haematoma as well as the clinical course of the patient. Smaller haematomas may be observed. Lager haematomas and those that fail to reabsorb should undergo drainage.