Tourist meets the paramedics who helped save him in Stansted Airport drama

PUBLISHED: 08:32 15 October 2018

Antonio with paramedic Debbie McDonald

Antonio with paramedic Debbie McDonald


An Italian tourist, who collapsed and stopped breathing at Stansted Airport, is safely back home.

Antonio and Daniela leaving for homeAntonio and Daniela leaving for home

But before he went, Antonio Perrelli thanked the ambulance crew and the airport staff who saved his life.

The first people on the scene were customer service personnel who had been trained by the East of England Ambulance Service. So they knew exactly what to do when someone had a cardiac arrest.

Antonio’s heart stopped on an airport train on August 20. A month later, on Saturday, September 23, he met his lifesavers from the airport and the East of England Ambulance Service - just before flying back to Italy with daughter Daniela, who had been with with him during the crisis.

Ambulance paramedics Kendal Lavery and Debbie McDonald, helped to save his life. They were both already based at the airport under a new contract this year to provide rapid 999 cover.

Antonio with paramedic Debbie McDonaldAntonio with paramedic Debbie McDonald

The airport’s own customer service ambassadors who rushed to his aid and were first on the scene had been taught their skills by the East of England Ambulance commerical service team two years ago.

Paramedic Debbie said: “When we arrived, the airport’s customer service team were there with a defibrillator, they were doing chest compressions and reassuring his daughter.”

Called to the scene just before 8pm, Debbie and Kendal worked on Antonio to give him advanced life-saving treatment, and also got the help of a nearby police officer to assist. In the dramatic moments following, the patient was ‘shocked’ three times and by 8.07pm, they had achieved an output, meaning he had a pulse again.

Antonio was later flown to hospital. Debbie said: “[The meet up] was one of the proudest and most emotional days of my life. We fought for Antonio’s life with every ounce of energy and emotion we had. To see him breathing, walking, smiling, happy, talking and his heart not only beating but filled with gratitude was the best feeling in the world.”

To volunteer to save lives or refresh your skills with an EEAST course, see:



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