Couple bring swimmer back from brink of death

Paramedic Ron Stewart, and his wife Sue (below), also a paramedic, who saved the life of a man known as Colin on a beach in Goa
Paramedic Ron Stewart, and his wife Sue (below), also a paramedic, who saved the life of a man known as Colin on a beach in Goa
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A holidaying husband and wife became lifesaving heroes when they brought a stricken swimmer back from the brink of death.

Blackpool paramedics Ron and Sue Stewart were relaxing on a beach in Goa, India, when they saw a commotion by the water’s edge.

Paramedic Ron Stewart, who saved the life of a man on a beach in Goa with his wife Sue, who is also a paramedic

Paramedic Ron Stewart, who saved the life of a man on a beach in Goa with his wife Sue, who is also a paramedic

The couple went to see what was happening and realised a fellow holidaymaker, who had been dragged from the sea, was unconscious and lifeless.

Dad-of-two Ron, 58, from North Shore, said: “I saw lots of people panicking and shouting near the sea’s edge and due to my job, I thought I might be able to assist in some way.

“Once I got to the scene, I was confronted with people pushing each other and arguing but no one was actually trying to actively resuscitate the man on the sand. He wasn’t breathing and was just lifeless.

“I was amazed that no one was doing anything, not even the lifeguards had any idea of what to do or how to save the man’s life, so I just got stuck in.

“Thankfully we got his heart going after a short while, my wife had to also keep people away who were busy arguing among themselves during the period of resuscitating him.

“Eventually an ambulance came and took him to hospital but I was still very cautious about his chances of survival.”

The drama unfolded on Candolim beach in the Indian holiday resort on Thursday afternoon.

The couple, who married in May 2013 after meeting while working at Blackpool’s Waterlood Road ambulance depot, were enjoying the first week of a three week holiday when the victim, who turned out to be a former London taxi driver, suffered a freak injury while swimming.

Ron, who has 30 years experience as a paramedic, and Sue, who has been a paramedic for 17 years, took charge of the situation as chaos reigned around them.

Sue, 59, a mother-of-three, helped to clear the airways of the unconscious man and keep back the crowds while Ron gave him chest compressions.

Ron said: “As he had swallowed lots of water I put him on his front and gave him CPR on his back. People didn’t think I was doing it right because they normally put people on their backs - I think that’s why there was such a commotion.

“I have had plenty of experience in my job but when you’re on a beach without all your lifesaving kit it can get pretty frightening.”

The 65-year-old former taxi driver, who now lives in Geneva, Switzerland, was taken to hospital by ambulance where it appears he made an amazing recovery.

Ron said: “The day after, his friend who went to the hospital with him, came up to me and said he was sat up in hospital and wanted to come speak to me.

“On Sunday, I actually got to meet him, it was lovely to see him look very healthy and seemed to have made a full recovery.

“He told me he swims everyday and all he can remember is a big wave coming and he tried to ride the wave as such but then he must have hit his head on something. We’re just glad we were there to be able to help.

“I’ve given him my contact details so hopefully he will be in touch.”

Ron says he remains astounded by the lack of equipment available on the beach and the lack of knowledge people had to help.

He said: “If I had known now what I did at the time then I would have run down to help straight away.”

Despite saving the taxi driver’s life, Ron does not feel like he has done anything amazing.

He said: “I don’t really want everyone making a fuss, I’ve just done what I can to help, it’s part and parcel of what I have done for the last 30 years.”