Man having mid-air heart attack saved by fellow passengers

Luckily there was a doctor, a policeman and a pharmacist on board

Updated: 
man having a heart attack on plane saved by passengers

A man who suffered a heart attack during a long-haul flight was saved by three passengers.

The victim was on a flight from Canada to Hong Kong and the plane was flying through some of the most remote airspace in the world when the passenger began complaining of chest pains.

Luckily, there was a doctor on board.

Dr. Dave Monks went to speak with the man, who said his pain was radiating to his ears and gums, before he lost consciousness, reports Fox News.

Monks began doing chest compressions while two other passengers, a policeman and a pharmacist, came to his aid.

"He was extremely fortunate to have this team there," Monks said.

"These guys just happened to be on the plane and even with the [basic medical skills] they had, they were able to perform a quite dramatic and sophisticated critical care resuscitation," he told Live Science.

They moved the man to a more open area near the emergency exit where the policeman took over doing CPR while Monks monitored the man's airway.

Using a portable defibrillator, they gave the man an electric shock to get his heart pumping again.

The trio kept the man alive using adrenaline from the plane's medical kit until the plane landed in Bejing, China where the man was rushed to hospital.

He has now made a full recovery in a case which is being used as an example of why portable defibrillators should be carried on all flights, reports the Daily Mail.

Defibrillators are available on some planes, but not all, Monks said. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration requires all flights to carry them, but it's not an international mandate.

About 1,000 passengers per year experience sudden cardiac death on commercial flights, according to a 2011 study published in the Singapore Medical Journal.

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