Pooled re­sources saved life

Fremantle Gazette - - NEWS - Jes­sica Nico

IAN Mitchell owes his life to the fast think­ing and ac­tions of four com­plete strangers.

It was an or­di­nary, early Au­gust morn­ing and Mr Mitchell was swim­ming at the Fre­man­tle Leisure Cen­tre when he suf­fered a sud­den stroke in the wa­ter.

Life­guard Tia Stone­hill, who was near­ing the end of her shift, said it was not long be­fore they re­alised some­thing was very wrong.

“James An­netts and I had been on the open shift com­menc­ing at 4.30am and I was get­ting to the end of my shift when Par­ris Lau­rie came on at 8am to start,” she said.

“I was stand­ing out­side on the far cor­ner of the 50m pool when she came over to do a han­dover and it was only a minute af­ter that that we no­ticed a pa­tron hol­ler­ing at us that some­thing was wrong.

“We then re­alised that this was a se­ri­ous emer­gency af­ter ob­serv­ing Ian un­con­scious, not breath­ing and rather blue in the face.

“Par­ris and I teabag lifted him out of the wa­ter while James cleared the pools and got emer­gency ser­vices on the way.

“Af­ter com­menc­ing CPR we had got a lot of colour back into Ian, a lot of fluid ex­pelled and fi­nally him do­ing some breaths on his own af­ter roughly three min­utes.”

Along with help from An­drea Thack­ray, their ac­tions saved Mr Mitchell’s life, a feat that was recog­nised at Wed­nes­day’s 2017 Royal Life Sav­ing Brav­ery Awards where the quar­tet was awarded a Gold Star.

Mr An­netts said it was an honour and com­pletely un­ex­pected to re­ceive the recog­ni­tion.

“It’s very im­por­tant to recog­nise life­guards’ work as our pri­mary role is one of preven­tion of ac­ci­dents and in­ci­dents and can largely go un­no­ticed by peo­ple not in­volved in the in­dus­try,” he said.

Mr Mitchell said he would be for­ever grate­ful to the strangers who saved his life.

“I wish to thank them for hav­ing the skills and smarts to pull an old bloke who was drown­ing out of the pool, to clear his air­way, start CPR, call the medics and save his life,” he said.

“I want to thank John East and all the Fre­man­tle Leisure Cen­tre Staff for hav­ing ef­fi­cient sys­tems in place.”

Ian Mitchell (in grey top) with James An­netts, Tia Stone­hill and Par­ris Lau­rie, the life­guards who saved his life when he suf­fered a stroke.

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