More should have skills

16:00, Jan 30 2014
Arie Litherland
LIFE SAVER: Fire station volunteer Arie Litherland, 18, saved a man’s life at Auckland Airport with a defibrillator like this.

Arie Litherland is used to seeing people kiss the ground.

The 18-year-old has been working as a passenger assistant at Auckland Airport throughout the summer.

Seeing people throw themselves on the floor after a bumpy flight is common place for Mr Litherland.

So when he saw a 65-year-old man keel over on the morning of January 6 after a flight from Thailand that's what he thought he was doing.

"Then he started spasming.

"A staff member from duty free came over and rolled him over and he wasn't responding."


Mr Litherland has been a member of the air scouts since he was 10 and has also been a trainee volunteer firefighter for the past eight months.

Although not a fully qualified volunteer yet Mr Litherland knew exactly what he should do next.

"He was still spasming and then he went stiff and purple and that's when it clicked that he needed the defibrillator," he says.

They are stocked in emergency vehicles and some public locations like malls and airports.

Mr Litherland used the defibrillator once on the man before giving CPR. Within five minutes he was sitting up and talking again.

The patient was taken to hospital and is expected to make a full recovery. Fire officer Graeme Booth says he was delighted to hear Mr Litherland knew what to do in an emergency.

"It gives me a lot of confidence in him," Mr Booth says.

Mr Litherland says although he can't remember much of what happened it's nice to know his responses were spot on.

He recommends others learn resuscitation skills.

"You could be anywhere when you might need it," he says.

Eastern Courier