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An RNLI lifeguard from Bournemouth on holiday in Majorca last week saved a man's life after administering vital first aid on the beach.
Chris Lemmer is an RNLI lifeguard at Boscombe and had gone on holiday with his girlfriend and his family following the end of the 2011 lifeguard season for a well-deserved break. He was on the beach on Thursday 6 October relaxing when he noticed some people signalling for help at the water's edge.
Chris, 25, explains:
'I could hear screaming and shouting from the water and see people holding onto someone. I ran over and saw the casualty who was unconscious and blue. We managed to get him up on the beach and I immediately started resuscitation.
'I had limited equipment and couldn't use a defibrillator so worked hard on compressions. I was doing compressions on his chest for almost 15 minutes until the local lifeguards and other people came over to help. Someone then took over the chest compressions so I could maintain the man's airway. It was very full on, especially as I was the only English speaking person so communicating with the Spanish lifeguards and paramedics was very difficult.'
Paramedics arrived about 15 minutes later and by the time they took the casualty away, he was conscious and talking.
Chris led the whole situation and advised the lifeguards and other helpers on what to do.
'It was the first time I'd ever done resuscitation in a real-life emergency situation and I was on my own - on the beach in Bournemouth I'm used to being part of a team where people can assist. The training instantly kicked in, I didn't think twice.
'It was such a huge relief when the man came round.'
The casualty was a German tourist in his 60s.
Simon Crayfourd, RNLI lifeguard manager for Dorset, has praised Chris' actions. He adds:
'Chris was taking a well earned holiday after completing the RNLI lifeguard season in Bournemouth when he saw this emergency situation unfold. Putting his skills to good use, Chris sprung to action and was able to use his knowledge to help save this man's life. His response and efforts were extraordinary and a testament to the RNLI and the training the charity provides.
'For Chris to deal with a resuscitation situation for the first time, in a foreign country where language was a barrier, and take control of the situation so professionally whilst providing first aid for 30 minutes, is a huge achievement which he should be very proud of – we certainly are.'