Life-saving pair come to rescue of man who suffered cardiac arrest at borough swimming pool

Rachel Brown and Steve Aspinall
Rachel Brown and Steve Aspinall

A father and daughter came to the rescue of an elderly swimmer when he suffered a cardiac arrest in the pool.

Steve Aspinall, 55, and Rachel Brown, 28, were training for an open water swim when the man fell ill at Howe Bridge Leisure Centre.

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Steve, who works as swimming co-ordinator at Howe Bridge and Leigh leisure centres, said: “We had finished swimming and were standing in the shallow end. I heard a commotion a couple of lanes down.”

A 74-year-old man had collapsed in the shallow end of the pool and was being supported by other swimmers.

The lifeguard hit the pool alarm and Steve rushed to pull the man from the water.

He and Rachel, who used to be a lifeguard at the pool and now works as a nurse at Leigh walk-in centre, started to treat him.

Steve, from Atherton, said: “He wasn’t breathing so my daughter started chest compressions and I did rescue breaths. After a minute or so we swapped places.

“The defib came on poolside within two or three minutes. I put the pads on and shocked him. The first shock, there was no sign of life, so we carried on with CPR. The second shock we got him back and within another minute or so the paramedics were there.”

The man was sitting up and talking as he was taken to an ambulance and is understood to have since had surgery.

He is expected to make a full recovery, thanks to the swift care he received.

Steve said: “I feel very proud but also glad. I train the lifeguards at the centre as well, so was just putting our training into practice. It just clicked and the training kicked in.”

The father-of-two praised Rachel, from Howe Bridge, who is on maternity leave after the birth of her son Stevie five months ago.

He said: “She was absolutely brilliant, she was really good.”

During the incident last Thursday evening, members of Howe Bridge Marlins swimming club supported the man’s family, along with staff at the centre.

Pete Burt, managing director of Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles, said: “I would clearly like to thank all the team at Howe Bridge Leisure Centre for their swift and highly skilled intervention on the night.

“The actions of the staff in the pool and the team at Howe Bridge meant the customer was helped very rapidly and the way was cleared for paramedics to do their crucial job effectively.”

He continued: “I know the thoughts of the community at Howe Bridge will be with our customer and his family at this time and we are very grateful as they keep us updated on his condition.

"We now wish him a very speedy recovery and warmest wishes to his family and friends.”