Highlands & Islands

Paramedic helps save uncle after heart attack on flight

Christopher Morrison
Image caption Christopher Morrison was only on the flight because the ferry he was booked on was cancelled

An off-duty paramedic gave lifesaving first aid to a relative after he suffered a cardiac arrest on a plane.

Aberdeen-based Christopher Morrison was only on Tuesday's Inverness to Stornoway flight because his ferry had been cancelled due to bad weather.

He was unaware the man who had taken ill a few seats behind him was his step-uncle until he went to his aid, assisted by others on the plane.

Iain Mackay is now recovering in hospital in Glasgow.

The medical emergency unfolded as the Loganair aircraft circled close to Stornoway Airport. The landing had been delayed due to bad weather.

Mr Morrison, who is from Lewis, was headed home to take his grandmother to a hospital appointment.

He had intended to take a ferry to Lewis but it was cancelled and he booked a flight.

'Bumpy landing'

While waiting for the plane to land Mr Morrison noticed a member of the flight's cabin crew seemed concerned about a passenger a few seats behind him.

"I told her 'do you need a hand, I'm a paramedic', and she said 'yes, can you look after this chap?" said Mr Morrison.

Going to the man he found that he was his step uncle.

Mr Morrison said: "He didn't look well. His health deteriorated and he went into cardiac arrest."

The paramedic moved Mr Mackay from his seat, placed him on the floor of the aisle and started CPR.

Image copyright Loganair
Image caption Loganair has defibrillators on all its aircraft

The cabin crew member brought Mr Morrison a defibrillator, recently installed on the aircraft, and an off-duty nurse also on the flight also offered assistance.

Fearing for Mr Mackay's chances for survival, Mr Morrison requested the aircraft make an emergency landing at Stornoway.

The aircraft's captain warned passengers to prepare themselves for a "bumpy landing", while Mr Morrison and nurse continued to give first aid and the defibrillator.

'Bag of chips'

Mr Morrison said: "Our family has suffered a recent bereavement and all the while I was giving CPR I was thinking 'they cannot lose another one'."

After landing at Stornoway, firefighters and ambulance personnel were on hand to give further assistance and get Mr Mackay to an ambulance and then Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway.

He was later flown to Glasgow by a Coastguard helicopter.

Mr Morrison said: "I've spoken to him today and he is bright and very grateful to myself, the crew and off-duty nurse.

"I told him he owes me a bag of chips."

Loganair has praised the actions of those involved.