NORTH ATTLEBORO – Fire Chief Chris Coleman said it was a “real team effort” when he and other firefighters on leave from a country flight resuscitated a stranded passenger.
âLuckily there were seven firefighters on board and four medics,â Coleman said Friday in a telephone interview with The Sun Chronicle.
The emergency occurred while firefighters were on a Southwest Airlines flight to Chicago en route to Denver to visit the Memorial to fallen firefighters in Colorado Springs.
Coleman said they were about 45 minutes away from the flight from Boston’s Logan International Airport when he, Captain George McKinnon and Captain Josh Langille heard someone behind them say “Are you okay?” “
Firefighters turned around and saw the passenger, a man in his 60s, had turned gray. They brought the man down the aisle, determined he had no pulse and appeared to be in a seizure, Coleman said.
The three men and Lt. Scott Langille, retired firefighters Jeff Badger and Rich McDonagh, and Foxboro firefighter Cory Shepardson took action to revive the man.
McKinnon began doing chest compressions and cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and then the man regained consciousness.
âThe flight had an AED on board but we didn’t have to use it,â Coleman said, referring to an automated external defibrillator.
The airliner also had life-saving medication on board, allowing paramedics to administer an IV line and keep the man’s vital signs stable.
Meanwhile, the fire chief said, the flight attendant was communicating with a doctor at a Chicago hospital. At one point, the pilot decided to continue the flight as planned instead of making an emergency landing, Coleman said.
After landing in Chicago, Coleman said firefighters transferred care to paramedics at the airport.
Colman said the firefighters, who are not on duty, planned to visit the fallen firefighters memorial on Friday to honor the fallen comrades, including North Attleboro firefighters Chris Cornetta and Captain Jack White.
Cornetta’s family members were also part of the trip, according to the fire chief.
Cornetta, 51, died in 2019 after suffering cardiac arrest while on duty. White, 57, died of cancer in 2017, a year after his retirement.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Association of Fire Fighters will be holding a virtual commemoration at the Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial at 1 p.m. Saturday.
David Linton can be reached at 508-236-0338.