Pool staff save NI great-grandfather’s life after he suffers cardiac arrest

This is the team of heroes from a leisure centre in Northern Ireland who recently saved a great-grandfather’s life after he suffered a cardiac arrest in a swimming pool.

Pensioner Paddy O’Carolan (87), from Londonderry, was swimming at the William Street baths in the city last Wednesday when he suddenly collapsed in more than seven feet of water.

Londonderry man, Paddy O'Carolan.

Londonderry man, Paddy O'Carolan.

Pool staff, along with fellow swimmers, immediately sprung into action, dragging Paddy from the pool, giving him mouth to mouth, starting CPR and using a defibrillator in an effort to resuscitate him before ambulance staff arrived.

Staff worked on Paddy for more than seven minutes until emergency personnel arrived at the pool.

Paddy’s daughter, Cliodna, is in no doubt that the quick thinking and professionalism of pool staff saved her father’s life.

“We are forever in their debt,” she said. “We visited the staff on Friday and they all hugged us and were very emotional.

Leisure Centre Staff from Londonderry, who came to the aid of a man who suffered a cardiac arrest at the venue last week.  Standing, from left, Bernie Gallagher, Catherine Doherty, Laura McColgan, Natalie McGlinchey and Luica Pyne.  At the front are Gerry Hamilton, Niall Devine and Odhran Hamilton.

Leisure Centre Staff from Londonderry, who came to the aid of a man who suffered a cardiac arrest at the venue last week. Standing, from left, Bernie Gallagher, Catherine Doherty, Laura McColgan, Natalie McGlinchey and Luica Pyne. At the front are Gerry Hamilton, Niall Devine and Odhran Hamilton.

“Apparently, it was the first time they had to put their lifesaving skills to the test and they followed procedure to a tee. The paramedics in the ambulance said they did an amazing job on daddy - given that he had swallowed a lot of water and his heart had stopped.

“One young lady, who is seven months pregnant, helped to pull daddy out of the water and save him. We are just overwhelmed at their efforts.

“They really were the heroes of the day. They showed ultimate teamwork and, when they were telling me what happened, they kept repeating, “we worked as a team” - nobody was looking for individual glory.

“Medics have said that it is unheard of that a man of daddy’s age, his cardiology trauma and near drowning should have survived.

“He is stable in Altnagelvin and, hopefully, will recover. It is through the pool staff’s expertise and courage that I was able to visit my dad and see him alive. We are so, so grateful to still have a daddy and it’s down to the heroics of the staff at William Street baths. We cannot thank them enough.”