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Off-Duty Mass. Firefighters Save Man's Life After He Suffers Medical Emergency on Flight

·3-min read

An airline passenger has a group of off-duty Massachusetts firefighters to thank for saving his life after he suffered a medical emergency mid-flight.

The incident unfolded on a flight out of Boston Logan International Airport on Thursday, according to Boston independent station WHDH.

The seven firefighters — Chief Christopher Coleman, Capt. George McKinnon, Capt. Josh Langille and Lt. Scott Langille with the North Attleboro Fire Department, as well as Foxborough Firefighter Cory Shepardson and retired firefighters Jeff Badger and Rich McDonagh — were on their way to Denver to visit the Fallen Firefighter Memorial in Colorado Springs, the outlet reported.

About 30 minutes into the flight, the group said they were alerted of a man in the row behind them, who was experiencing symptoms seemingly related to a seizure, according to WHDH.

"We saw a passenger that was extremely gray and not responding," Coleman recalled, noting that they laid the passenger down on the aisle and could not find his pulse, per the outlet.

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"As soon as we recognized that there was a problem our training kicked in," he later added while speaking to reporters at a press conference, per CBS affiliate WBZ-TV. "We did not even have to look at each other, we just simply knew what had to get done."

Coleman said the crew quickly jumped into action with McKinnon performing CPR and Langille getting the automated external defibrillator (AED). Coleman also helped by inserting an IV into the man, he told reporters.

The heroic moment was captured in a photograph by other passengers on the plane and shared with WBZ-TV.

Close to a minute later, the group's efforts paid off and firefighters said they were able to revive the man, according to WHDH.

"After the patient regained consciousness, we started an IV, we gave him some fluid and he remained conscious for the entire flight," Coleman explained.

The group continued to monitor him throughout the flight before landing at Chicago Midway International Airport, where he was then transported to a nearby hospital, WHDH reported.

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Coleman told the outlet the man is now doing okay.

Following their trip, the group returned home to a town recognition with letters of commendation, according to WHDH.

As he reflected on the traumatic ordeal, Coleman said the incident is a great example of how first responders are always willing and prepared — even when they're not on the clock.

"A firefighter is never off duty and this proves it," he told reporters, per WHDH. "We do it every day. Whether it's 30,000 feet in the air or on the sidewalk in North Attleboro. It's our job."

"We do this stuff all over the place, in all different kinds of settings," he added. "Never thought I'd be doing it in an airplane up above."

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