Club Praises Swift Action by Chiswick Lifeboat Crew

After veteran rower collapses at Head of the River race

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Andy Millar (left) and Vince Kerrigan in their coxed four Photo: Big Blade Photography

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On Sunday afternoon the crew of Chiswick RNLI Lifeboat revived a rower who had taken part in the veterans Head of the River race after he collapsed.

The lifeboat was heading back to Chiswick after the river closure for the annual race when they received a call from the London Coastguard with a report of a male who had stopped breathing in Barn Elms Reach.

Two minutes later they arrived on scene to find the casualty on the foreshore with Andy Millar, one of the rowers from his boat, and a passing doctor who was carrying out manual resuscitation.

After a quick assessment, helmsman Martin Blaker-Rowe attached the casualty to the Lifeboat’s defibrillator. Further CPR and two shock cycles produced a pulse and the rower regained colour and resumed breathing.

With the help of bystanders and the ambulance crew, he was transferred to the lifeboat’s stretcher and taken to the ambulance.

He was taken to Charing Cross Hospital where he was placed under observation in the cardiac unit. He is expected to make a full recovery.

Andy Millar, veterans’ representative from Wallingford Rowing Club said “We cannot thank the RNLI crew enough for their prompt and skilful action to revive Vince Kerrigan, without their help he would now be dead. Amazingly, once his heart rhythm had been restored he became alert, asked for a meat pie and tried to insist on rowing the boat back to our launch point!”

Defibrillators are relatively new equipment for RNLI lifeboats. Chiswick Lifeboat has had one for just over a year and every duty crew has someone trained in its use.

The casualty was some distance from any road, but because the lifeboat took only two minutes to reach him and was able to treat him on the foreshore, they saved precious seconds which were critical in this incident.

November 17, 2009