TRIGG swimmer Les Lindsay was back at the beach one week after his heart stopped, cracking jokes with the team that saved his life.
Mr Lindsay was running up the beach with other members of Trigg Island Surf Life Saving Club’s (SLSC) Blue Hole winter swimming group when he told fellow member and former paramedic Mike Deephouse he felt faint.
“It is about a 400m swim, the race had finished and we were all running up shore and the last thing I can remember was seeking Mike out, who I felt had experience and I told him I wasn’t feeling that flash,” Mr Lindsay said.
“After that everything went black; 36 hours later I was in ICU in a coma.”
With no history of heart problems as an active Trig SLSC member, Mr Lindsay had suffered a cardiac arrest.
Mr Deephouse said he quickly rallied the other swimmers into action and got a defibrillator and oxygen.
“We put him straight into the recovery position and then we noticed he had a gasping delayed irregular breathing which was getting worse,” he said.
“Then we started CPR with a defib on and after four shocks we got him back.
“It was all about being organised and getting all the crew organised.
“We rotated people on the compressions to keep him going at 120 beats per minute until the ambulance arrived.”
Group member Vanessa Barby said the incident reiterated the need for people to review their emergency and life saving skills and take part in surf life saving.
“Everyone has got it in the back of their mind that it is never going to happen to them or someone they know; this really solidly brought it home that all of the training pays off and is always in the back of your mind,” she said.
“They used those skills at the highest level; it was absolutely amazing the way that they worked together.
“This was someone we’ve known for so long; that’s the hardest part.”
Mr Lindsay said while he had to recover he was keen to get back in the water with his mates.
“I’ve done about 400 swims with the group; there was a lot of humour and I thanked them for keeping me alive,” he said.
“I was in the right place at the right time and the crew did a wonderful job of smashing up my ribcage.
“I want to get back into it soon, but I think I’ll back off the competition a bit, I just won’t go as hard as the other blokes.”