Grandad thanks RNLI lifeguard team who saved his life after major heart attack
A man who was resuscitated by RNLI lifeguards after suffering a major heart attack said he ‘simply would not be here’ if it was not for the quick and professional response of his rescuers.
James Probert collapsed in a car park near Tenby South Beach in June after suffering the cardiac arrest. RNLI lifeguards alerted to Mr Probert by a member of the public found him lying face down, unconscious and not breathing.
The lifeguard team of George Stottor, Angus Wyatt, Katie Sutton and Kirk Lester, who are all fully first aid trained, immediately started CPR, including using an automated external defibrillator (AED). Working as a team they carried out between 10 and 15 minutes of resuscitation before Mr Probert’s heart started beating, he started breathing again and slowly he regained consciousness.
Since then the 58-year-old from Kilgetty has had a triple heart bypass operation and is now fully on the road to recovery. Doctors have told his family that only five in 100 people suffering a cardiac arrest of this type survive.
Now Mr Probert and his family have made a kind donation to the RNLI charity and issued a thank you to the team who saved his life.
‘Without them I would be dead,’ he said.
‘I want to thank every one of the team who helped me and it shows just how valuable the RNLI lifeguards are.’
Mr Probert, a father of four, said he remembers very little from the day of the incident in June. After the lifeguard team, supported by firefighters from Tenby Fire Station, restarted his heart he was taken to Withybush Hospital, where he spent 10 days before being transferred to Morriston Hospital in Swansea. There he had the triple heart bypass operation, which happened to be on the day his 58th birthday in July.
Today Mr Probert and members of his family met up with representatives from the RNLI lifeguard team to donate £258 to the charity. Mr Probert, his wife Jeanette and his children Louise, Anthony, Ruth and Pearl have all contributed to the total, as well as collecting donations from other family members.
Louise said: ‘You normally think of lifeguards rescuing people out of the sea or caring for people on beaches, but these lifeguards actually raced from the beach in the opposite direction to save my dad. We owe them everything and we cannot thank them enough.’
RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor Chris Rigby, who accepted the donation on behalf of the RNLI, said: ‘Everyone in the team is really glad that we were able to help Mr Probert and that he is now doing so well with his recovery.
‘Our team of lifeguards aren’t motivated by receiving recognition or donations from people they help, but it’s always a really nice boost for the team when people we help show their gratitude like the Probert family have today. As a charity the RNLI relies entirely on the support of the public to fund our lifesaving services and when donations come in from people who we’ve helped it’s extra special.
‘This is one of the most serious first aid incidents our team has dealt with in recent years and I would again like to praise the lifeguards and the local firefighters who responded. They worked as a team and when faced with a serious situation their training kicked in to provide an immediate and crucial response.’
Notes to editors:
Interviews with RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor Chris Rigby are available on request. For more information please contact RNLI Regional Media Officer Chris Cousens on 07748 265496 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The attached pictures show:The RNLI lifeguards involved in the treatment of Mr Probert in June: (front to back) George Stottor, Angus Wyatt, Katie Sutton, Holly Thomas and Kirk Lester. Credit RNLI.
The Probert family meeting some of the RNLI lifeguard team: (left to right) RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor Sam Trevor, RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor Adam Pitman, James Probert, Louise Probert, Duane-Lee Probert, Megan Probert, RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor Chris Rigby. Credit RNLI/Steve Lowe
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.