A LIFEGUARD has been hailed a hero for saving a pensioner who suffered a heart attack while swimming in a Basildon pool.
Emily Jones, 22, dragged John Mitchell, 73, from the pool at the Basildon Sporting Village after he fell unconscious.
She took him to the side of the pool and performed CPR for six minutes until the ambulance service arrived. She described the moment Mr Mitchell regained consciousness as “one of the best feelings in the world”.
Miss Jones, who has worked at the Sporting Village for about three years, was handed a Royal Life Saving Society Certificate of Meritorious Action yesterday for her quick-thinking actions.
She said: “I didn’t know until yesterday I would be receiving this award. It is a huge honour.”
The drama unfolded as Mr Mitchell, who wears a pacemaker, was in the pool for his morning swim.
Miss Jones, of Hook End Lane, Brentwood, said: “I was lifeguarding early in the morning.
Mr Mitchell comes in all the time and has told us he has a heart condition.
“He had swum about ten metres when he went to the side of the pool and I just thought there was something not right.
“He suddenly collapsed and became unconscious, so myself and my manager, David Tracey, pulled him from the pool, put him on to his back and started CPR.”
Mr Mitchell has since made a full recovery.
Miss Jones said: “After about three minutes you don’t have much chance of getting a patient back. He came round just as the ambulance arrived, after about six minutes. It was such a relief when we heard him breathe. It was lovely. The best feeling in the world.”
Miss Jones, who works as a first responder in Brentwood, thanked her manager and the rest of her team for their help.
General manager Tom Fletcher said: “Emily remained calm and focused and followed the centre’s operating and emergency action plan procedures in an exemplary manner.
“Thanks to her leadership that day, Mr Mitchell made a full recovery. Her award is very well deserved and I'm delighted to see that her efforts that day have been recognised.”