Aquatic staff prove to be life-savers
The quick thinking of two Arena Aquatic Centre employees saved a man’s life after he had an angina attack while swimming last week.
Placemakers driver Joe Whittaker was enjoying his regular morning swim on Monday, January 27, when he felt a pain in his chest. Having had three heart attacks, he recognised the symptoms.
Two pool employees, William Ratty and Graeme Smeaton, were the first to help.
‘‘Having had a heart attack as well, I remembered the symptoms,’’ Mr Smeaton said.
The two men and an off-duty police officer attempted to get Mr Whittaker out of the pool, but his large frame made it difficult.
‘‘He slipped a bit and fell more into the pool,’’ Mr Smeaton said.
They managed to get him out and on to oxygen before the ambulance arrived.
Mr Whittaker said he had made a full recovery and planned to be back in the water soon.
He credited things turning out so well to his rescuers’ quick thinking.
‘‘I’m just grateful the guys were there,’’ he said.
‘‘Without their quick actions it could have been worse than it was.’’
He and his wife returned the next day to thank the staff.
Mr Smeaton said that gave him a real buzz.
‘‘We don’t always get that. He’s still here and he’s happy. That’s the main thing.’’
The pool’s events senior team leader said people did not realise how hard the job could be.
‘‘You have got to be on your toes because emergencies [rescues] can happen at any time.’’
Aquatics senior team leader William Ratty said staff tried to avoid getting to the point when someone needed rescuing.
‘‘That’s why you have to really keep your eyes open.’’
Pool rescue: From left, William Ratty and Graeme Smeaton’s quick thinking saved Joe Whittaker, right, when he had an angina attack while swimming.