Firefighters rescue passenger turned gray in in-flight medical emergency

A group of firefighters sprang into action after seeing a man suffer a medical emergency on a commercial flight between Massachusetts and Chicago.

On September 16, seven firefighters from North Attleboro and Foxboro, Massachusetts were on a Southwest Airlines flight when a passenger began to turn gray during a medical emergency.

Firefighters believed the man was showing symptoms of a possible seizure and became completely unresponsive.

North Attleboro Fire Captain George McKinnon told WBZ-TV on Tuesday that as soon as he and his partners realized there was a problem, “our training began.”

A group of firefighters sprang into action after seeing a man suffer a medical emergency on a commercial flight between Massachusetts and Chicago. The photo above is a photo of a Spirit Airlines plane.
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“We do this stuff all over the place in all types of contexts,” McKinnon said. “I never thought I would do it on a plane overhead.”

North Attleboro Fire Chief Chris Coleman told WBZ-TV on Tuesday that they didn’t even have to look at each other to resolve the emergency.

“We just knew what to do. Captain McKinnon did the CPR, I put the IV on, Captain Langille got the AED,” Coleman said.

The passenger had no pulse, so an IV was administered to recover his pulse and move both his blood pressure and his heart.

“The plane had all the equipment we needed,” said Coleman. “Once the patient regained consciousness, we started an infusion, gave him fluid and he remained conscious for the entire flight.”

Coleman said that regardless of the time or place, “it’s our job.”

Firefighters who assisted in the rescue included Chief Chris Coleman; Captain George McKinnon; Captain Josh Langille; Lieutenant Scott Langille; retired firefighters Jeff Badger and Rich McDonagh; and Foxborough firefighter Cory Shepardson.

North Attleboro Deputy Fire Chief Michael Chabot made a statement to WBZ-TV regarding the actions of the fire brigade.

“The heroic actions of these firefighters today echo our mantra that we are never truly on emergency leave,” said Chabot. “Their quick action and determination, even at 30,000 feet in the air, is a testament to their unwavering preparation and professionalism. “

There have been a number of police and medical emergencies incidents that occurred in 2021 on various flights across the country.

More recently, a black Muslim woman was reportedly beaten up and labeled a terrorist by an airline passenger on a Spirit Airlines flight while she was traveling on the 20th anniversary of September 11.

News week contacted the North Attleboro Fire Department for further comment.

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