Leisure boss turns lifesaver in Thailand

SENIOR borough manager Billy Brennan was thrown into a life-or-death struggle for a young woman's life during a recent holiday in Thailand.And today the head of leisure at Ipswich council is urging everyone to learn basic first aid - which could help save a life.

By Paul Geater

SENIOR borough manager Billy Brennan was thrown into a life-or-death struggle for a young woman's life during a recent holiday in Thailand.

And today the head of leisure at Ipswich council is urging everyone to learn basic first aid - which could help save a life.

Mr Brennan was on holiday in the Thai resort of Phuket earlier this month when he found himself caught up in the drama.

He said: “It was the day before we returned home and I had gone for a walk on my own just in my trunks and sunglasses - I didn't even have flip-flops on.

“As I walked along the beach I saw this child very distressed and I thought someone might have been hurt by a jetski.

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“Then I saw a jetski come to the beach very slowly with a body on the back - it was a woman who was very limp and she flopped on to the beach.”

The crowd that gathered were not able to help the woman so Mr Brennan, who has had some basic first-aid training, and another British holidaymaker stepped forward.

He said: “We started doing CPR heart massage and I was giving her the kiss of life.

“Then some lifeguards came up and were indicating us to stop because she was dead - they could not speak English. But I said we had to continue.”

Mr Brennan and the British woman - a teacher from Shropshire - continued their lifesaving as the woman was placed on the back of a flat-backed lorry and taken to a nearby hospital.

“The other woman fell off the back of the lorry at one stage and had to run along and get back on as I kept up with the CPR,” Mr Brennan said.

Once the woman arrived at the hospital a medical team eventually took over the CPR and Mr Brennan has now heard she is well on her way to recovery.

He said: “I have been in contact with someone who knows her in South Korea and I understand she is back at home but is still be treated for damage to her lungs from the water that got in.

“She is a 37-year-old Thai woman called Poom, I don't know her surname, and had recently married an American.

“But she is a very lucky woman - lucky that the young girl, her niece, was able to raise the alarm, lucky that the jetski was able to bring her in, and lucky that we were able to give first aid on the beach.”

Mr Brennan said the incident showed just how vital it was to have some first aid knowledge.

He said: “I was given some basic training many years ago because of my involvement in sport, but I had never used it on a real person before.

“I was thinking: 'you've got to get this right' all the time we were giving her heart massage and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

“But apart from the two of us there was a crowd of people standing around, including the lifeguards, who didn't have any idea what to do.”

He said anyone who had the chance of learning first aid should do so - you never know when you could save a life.

After the drama Mr Brennan was left stranded near the hospital wearing only his swimming trunks and sunglasses.

He said: “I'd only gone for a short walk, so I'd left everything in the hotel room with my wife - I didn't even have anything on my feet.

“But at least I had been able to help in saving a life, and it is good to know that we helped ensure there is someone alive now who would be dead had we not been there.”

Did you know: There are regular first aid courses in Ipswich and other towns run by the Red Cross and St John Ambulance, among other organisations. For details visit their websites.

Phuket facts:

n> Phuket is an island off the south of Thailand which is world-famous for its glorious sandy beaches.

n> The Bond film Man with the Golden Gun was filmed there.

n>Phuket was devastated by the Tsunami in 2004 - but has since recovered and rebuilt its tourist industry.

n>Phuket is one of the most popular winter sun resorts for European holidaymakers.

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