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Lifeguards saluted for life-saving heroics

Simon Tsang, centre, was saved by the heroic actions of Kai Favrholdt, second from right, and Leah Wait. Tsang suffered a heart attack on Dec. 18, and later required heart-bypass surgery. - Jacqueline Langen
Simon Tsang, centre, was saved by the heroic actions of Kai Favrholdt, second from right, and Leah Wait. Tsang suffered a heart attack on Dec. 18, and later required heart-bypass surgery.
— image credit: Jacqueline Langen

Simon Tsang appreciates life like never before, after he was saved by three quick-acting lifeguards at Minoru Aquatic Centre on Dec. 18.

It was a Wednesday evening, just a few minutes before closing, and lifeguard Kai Favrholdt was routinely scanning the pool when someone shouting drew his attention.

Tsang was in the pool chatting with a friend, when he suffered a heart attack, prompting the friend to call for assistance.

It was the heroics of Favrholdt, who pulled Tsang from the pool, along with fellow lifeguards Leah Wait and Mitchell Beavis, that helped the father-of-three survive.

The team administered cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and then hooked Tsang up to an automated external defibrillator, which shocked Tsang twice before paramedics arrived at the scene and took over. Tsang later required heart-bypass surgery.

Swimming is good exercise and Tsang said he's been gathering with friends at Minoru Aquatic Centre for nearly 16 years.

He's looking forward to resuming his routine in the coming weeks, and is confident the staff at the pool are well trained for emergencies such as his.

According to the B.C. Ambulance Service, a cardiac arrest victim is four times more likely to survive if they receive CPR from a bystander.

"Many cardiac incidents happen in public places," said ambulance service superintendent Bob Alexander. "BC Ambulance Service dispatchers provide CPR instruction over the phone, but bystanders with CPR offer the best chance of survival to a friend, family member or even a stranger."

This is apparently the first time a City of Richmond automated exeternal defibrillator unit has been employed.

"I commend Kai, Leah and Mitchell for their skills and courage that saved Simon's life. Sudden cardiac arrests may have few wrarning signs and can strike anyone, " Richmond Centre MLA Teresa Wat said. "This incident proved that quick application of CPR combined with the use of an AED significantly increases the chances of survival."

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