Aquatic staff prove to be life-savers

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By RHI­AN­NON McCON­NELL

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.

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