Firefighter saves airline passenger’s life during flight home

Neil PuntAn Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) firefighter has received a letter of thanks from an international airline after he helped save the life of a passenger on board a flight to the UK from Australia.

Firefighter Neil Punt, who is based at Weston-super-Mare Fire Station, was flying between Singapore and Abu Dhabi on Friday 8 August with his family when he became aware of a passenger in need of help.

Neil said: “It was during a night flight and most of the passengers were asleep. I became aware of a bit of a commotion a few rows in front of me and went to see if I could help.

“A lady on the flight had stopped breathing and had no pulse. Using the first aid skills I have as a firefighter Iapplied three back slaps. When this did not work I tried the Heimlich manoeuvre, at which point she vomited and regained a pulse.

“The pilot put out a call to ask if there were any doctors or other medically trained passengers on board. When no one came forward I continued to assess and monitor the lady’s condition.

“She was in and out of consciousness for the rest of the flight to Abu Dhabi and there was talk of diverting the flight. We eventually made it to our destination and the lady was taken away by the medical team who were waiting for her on our arrival.

“I had recently completed my First Person on Scene (FPOS) training through my job as a firefighter and having to deal with this incident certainly highlighted the importance of the training.”

The FPOS training is given to firefighters, police officers and community responders to provide them with skills and knowledge to enable them to carry out immediate care in the first few minutes of an emergency.

Following the incident Neil received a letter from Etihad Airways thanking him for his assistance.

In the letter Guest Affairs Officer for Etihad Airways, Faiza Abdul Rahim, wrote: “On behalf of Etihad Airways I would like to express our sincere gratitude for the assistance you rendered to one of our guests who required medical attention.

“The medical aid you gave may have helped to avoid what could have been a potentially unpleasant situation for the guest and we gratefully acknowledge your timely and unconditional help.”