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Lifeguards’ CPR saves life after man collapses

Immediate and effective cardiopulmonary resucsitation (CPR) averted tragedy at the New Zealand Surf Lifesaving Championships yesterday when a competitor in the Masters events collapsed on the beach.

Lifeguards in the immediate vicinity, including doctors and nurses, sprang into action and began CPR on the man, who had suffered a heart event.

They used an AED (portable defibrillator) to restart the man's heart, and saved his life.

The man, in his early 50s, is from the Bay of Plenty.

He had just finished the surf race when he collapsed.

A St John officer who attended said the lifeguards did a good job.

“What they did was impressive. The survival rate from cardiac arrests like that is not great.

“Quick CPR and a shock made the difference for the man,” he said.

“The lifeguards used the AED once and got an immediate response, which proves the effectivness of both the lifeguards and the right equipment like an AED.”

The man had been revived and was semi-conscious by the time the ambulance crew arrived at the beach.

“His condition was improving all the time,” the ambulance officer said.

The man was put on to a back board and carried off the beach to the waiting ambulance and he was then taken to Gisborne Hospital. The hospital has reported him to be in a stable condition.

Event manager Scott Bicknell said he was “incredibly proud of the response from our members and the event safety crew”.

“We understand the lifeguard who had the medical event is recovering well, and our thoughts go out to him, to his family, and his club.”