Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 9°C

Search

Bury St Edmunds: Pilot says the angels were watching over him when he suffered heart attack while flying at 1,500 feet

10:56 03 March 2014

John Lord's Streak Shadow two-seater aeroplane

John Lord's Streak Shadow two-seater aeroplane

Archant

John Lord firmly believes the angels were watching over him as he suffered a heart attack at 1,500 feet.

John Lord  is back home in Fornham St Martin after he suffered chest pains whilst flying his plane. John is pictured with his wife Angela.John Lord is back home in Fornham St Martin after he suffered chest pains whilst flying his plane. John is pictured with his wife Angela.

He had taken off in his two-seater, single propellor aeroplane to take photographs over west Suffolk but felt chest pains as he was flying between Bury St Edmunds and Pakenham.

The 65-year-old, who has been a pilot for 25 years, managed to fly his Streak Shadow back to his home airfield at Gaines Hall Farm, in Wickhambrook, where he suffered a cardiac arrest and was then taken by ambulance to the West Suffolk Hospital.

He needed further treatment and was transferred to Papworth Hospital but was back home less than a week after the drama with his wife Angela and yesterday told of his ordeal and also thanked the “wonderful” paramedics and medical staff that treated him.

“It’s been a bit of a wake up call for me and when I landed and the paramedics were with me I was told that I said ‘I think I’m going to die’.

“The next think I knew I was getting CPR treatment before I was taken to hospital. I think the angels were with me at the end of the day and helped me get the plane back on the ground.”

Mr Lord, who works from his home in Lark Valley Drive, Fornham St Martin, is due to retire from his job as a technical consultant for support sales for the phone giants EE in two week’s time and was also planning to take a holiday in Florida this month.

But that has now all been put on hold while his piloting days have also been ended.

“I’ve decided that’s it now and I don’t want to put my wife through anything like that again. I’ve decided to keep my feet on the ground now and fly drones and unmanned aeronautical vehicles (UAEs) which all carry cameras,” said Mr Lord, who is secetary of the Bury St Edmunds Photographic Society.

He had wholesome words of praise for paramedic Dale Boulston and the crew who helped save his life and also for staff at both West Suffolk Hospial and Papworth.

“They are just fantastic and without them it would have been so very different. I just cannot thank them enough; they are all fantastic.”

The drama unfolded just over a week ago when Mr Lord, who had always been in great health, decided to take to the skies.

He was 20 minutes into his flight on Saturday, February 22, when he was gripped by crippling chest pains.

“I don’t drink or smoke and I always try to walk about five miles a day.

“But I remember having slight chest pains last August when we were on holiday in Austria. I just put it down to the heavy camera I was carrying.

“I came back home and did not have any pains until I started walking again in Gran Canaria just before Christmas but when I came home the pains seemed to go away. I booked in to see the doctor and funnily enough I had a appointment for this Tuesday (tomorrow).

“On the day of the flight I was planning to go to Norwich to buy a camera lens but it was such a beautiful day and I said to myself ‘I cannot miss this’. The weather conditions were perfect and off I went.

“I got the plane ready and wanted to do some pictures of the windmill at Pakenham. I had two cameras running with one strapped round my head.

“I took off and flew over Bury towards Pakenham then the chest pains came on. I took some pictures of Pakenham and headed down to Lavenham over Cockfield but the pains started to get stronger so I thought let’s get back home.”

Mr Lord landed and taxied along the airstrip and phoned his close friend Frank Claydon who called the ambulance. He managed to walk to the vehicle and paramedics but the next thing he knew he woke up and was being given CPR treatment.

His 61-year-wife and the couple’s daughter Marsha Brame, who works at the West Suffolk, were told of Mr Lord’s ordeal and linked up with him at the hospital.

Mr Lord returned home from Papworth on Thursday and is now on the road to recovery.

“But that’s it as far as my flying day are concerned,” he said.

“I’ve had 25 years and it’s been fantastic but you just have to move on. I don’t want to put any more stress on my family and for my wife to worry that it will happen again.”

And Mrs Lord added: “It was a weekend that we do not want to go through again.”

An ambulance spokesman said: “It’s lucky for everyone involved that John was able to land the plane safely and fortunately our hard working crew was then on hand to give immediate lifesaving treatment.

“People who suffer a cardiac arrest outside of hospital have less than a 20 per cent chance of survival. In this case our crews were able to carry out chest compressions and give a shock from the defibrillator as soon as John went into cardiac arrest.

“This undoubtedly made a real difference to John surviving and making such a good recovery.”

3 comments

  • We're so pleased to hear that Mr Lord is doing well after we saw him last week. Well done to all the teams involved from the East Anglian Air Ambulance and the East of England Ambulance Service for the great pre-hospital treatment they gave. If Mr Lord would ever like to come and see the team, we'd be more than happy to show him round the aircraft.

    Report this comment

    HelenD, EAAA

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • Hmmmm... It doesn't exactly give you confidence about someone flying over your head if you hear he's relying on imaginary friends.

    Report this comment

    beerlover

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • "I think the angels were with me at the end of the day and helped me get the plane back on the ground" If only they had helped you not have a heart attack in the first place! Glad to hear you are safe and well though.

    Report this comment

    George

    Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Detectives investigating a double stabbing in Ipswich have been granted further time to question a 17-year-old boy from Ipswich who was arrested on suspicion of murder.

Charlotte Smith-Jarvis finds great value at Pump and Grind in the centre of Ipswich.

If you are still struggling for Christmas gift ideas for your children, nieces and nephews, this could help you out. Here we list the must-have toys that will be under Christmas trees in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Woodbridge this year.

Looking for a fun family day out in Suffolk or north Essex this weekend? We could have the answer.

Motorists heading to London will face delays on the roads early next year as Highways England undertake a series of roadworks.

An Ipswich basketball player has returned to his native Africa to hand out clothes and sports equipment to children in deprived areas.

The air ambulance has been called alongside other emergency services to a serious crash on the B1106 in Elveden, near Center Parcs.

A man accused of raping a woman he met on a dating website has been cleared by a jury.

A man and a teenage boy were stabbed this afternoon in Ipswich at West Meadows near the Whitehouse Interchange.

As the build up to Christmas gathers steam, we asked our iwitness members to share their photos of the approaching festivities.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24