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Sky Harbor at Night

42nd Life Saved at Phoenix Sky Harbor

by Public Relations | Published On: Dec 26, 2014 | Last Updated: Jan 02, 2015

AED SignPolice officers, firefighters and passengers at Sky Harbor rallied to save the life of a California man with the help of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

The 69-year-old man from Whitmore, Calif., and his wife had a layover in Phoenix on Nov. 20, 2014, when he had a massive heart attack while on a moving walkway. A fellow passenger swung into action and started performing CPR on him.

“In the moments following his fall, many people appeared to help,” said his wife, Mary.

Among those helping were Phoenix Police Airport Bureau officers Dave Pallas and Mark Christensen, who took turns conducting chest compressions until an AED could be brought to the scene.

Firefighters from Phoenix Fire Station 19 arrived and continued with lifesaving measures, administering more AED shocks before transporting him to a nearby hospital. The man then underwent bypass surgery, followed by two weeks of physical rehabilitation therapy.

On Dec. 16, the California couple finally finished their trip and left Phoenix Sky Harbor to make their way home to Whitmore.

“I have wondered many times since that day who all those people were and if we would ever be able to say thank you,” said Mary, the wife of the patient. “No amount of words can express our deep gratitude to the men and women who worked so generously and quickly to save my husband’s life that day. Thank you for your life-saving hands. We are eternally grateful.”

Other members of the response team are: Capt. Brian Machol, Tony Dominguez, Mitch Laird, Russ Haedt, Logan Arthur and Robert Valle.

Phoenix Sky Harbor, Phoenix Deer Valley and Phoenix Goodyear airports have more than 85 AEDs available. Additionally, more than 2,000 Airport employees and volunteer Navigators have been trained to administer CPR and correctly use AEDs in the event of an emergency.