Gatwick Airport Staff Thanked After Saving Passenger’s Life

Gatwick Airport staff with passenger who was revived with CPR.
Photo Credit: Gatwick Airport

A team of staff at London Gatwick Airport were honoured after their swift response saved a passenger’s life following a cardiac arrest.

The incident, which unfolded on 24 October 2023 highlighted the importance of first aid training and the remarkable teamwork that can make all the difference in an emergency.

Passenger in Distress

Eddie Barnes, a passenger on his way to Spain, was making his way through security in the North Terminal when he suddenly went into cardiac arrest.

The situation unfolded in a matter of moments, leaving Eddie unconscious and in critical need of medical attention.

Thankfully, a total of 12 staff members from various departments at Gatwick were nearby and sprang into action without hesitation.

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Photo Credit: London Gatwick Airport.

A Coordinated Response: Training Pays Off

The immediate response from security, passenger operations, and the London Gatwick Fire Service was excellent. All passenger operations staff at Gatwick receive mandatory first aid training, including CPR.

This training proved invaluable as they began administering CPR to Eddie for over 15 minutes. Firefighters from the on-site fire service, with their advanced immediate emergency care qualifications provided further assistance.

Their personnel arrived promptly, providing a higher level of medical care.

CPR: A Second Chance at Life

The combined efforts of the Gatwick Airport staff team proved to be lifesaving. Eddie’s heart was eventually restarted with the help of a defibrillator, and he was stabilized before being transported to the hospital for further treatment.

Thankfully, Eddie made a full recovery and recently returned to Gatwick to express his immense gratitude to the staff who saved his life.

A Reunion Filled with Gratitude

The reunion between Eddie and the Gatwick staff was an emotional one. Eddie recounted the harrowing experience, highlighting how he had no warning signs before collapsing.

He expressed his deep appreciation for the staff’s swift response and the quality of CPR administered, which his heart surgeon later confirmed was crucial in his survival.

The experience left Eddie with a newfound appreciation for the importance of readily available first aid training and the dedication of medical professionals.

Render of new Gatwick Airport North Terminal interior.
Image Credit: Gatwick Airport

Gatwick Staff Share Their Story

Scott Ronaldson and Przemyslaw Karpicki, two of the first responders from passenger operations, shared their perspective on the event.

They described the frantic moments leading up to Eddie’s resuscitation, emphasizing the importance of teamwork and the training provided by the London Gatwick Fire Service.

“At the time, Przemyslaw and I were close to finishing a night shift,” said Scott. “We noticed something was wrong when we saw security personnel pulling screens across.”

“When we reached Eddie, we realized he wasn’t breathing. I immediately started CPR with Przemyslaw until our colleagues arrived with a defibrillator.”

Przemyslaw echoed Scott’s sentiments, highlighting the value of their training and the immediate response from the team.

“We didn’t hesitate – we ran straight to him,” he said. “The training from the fire service kicked in, and they arrived shortly after to provide further care.”

“In that moment, I was completely focused on helping Eddie. But later, when I got home, the weight of the situation hit me. Together with my colleagues, we did something incredible.”

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Photo Credit: London Gatwick Airport.

Commitment to Passenger Safety

The incident at Gatwick Airport serves as a powerful reminder of the vital role first aid training plays in ensuring passenger safety.

London Gatwick’s Passenger Operations Support responds to a significant number of first aid calls annually, ranging from cardiac arrests to managing queues and passenger assistance.

This incident highlights the critical skills and composure these staff possess in handling emergency situations.

The story of Eddie’s rescue goes beyond the headlines. It’s a testament to the dedication of the Gatwick Airport staff and their commitment to passenger safety.  

It also highlights the importance of readily available first aid training. It’s a story about teamwork, quick thinking, and the power of collective action in saving a life.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
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