Woman thanks her husband's saviours

21:29, Aug 18 2014
CLOSE CALL: A campervan crashed near Sinclair St in Blenheim last week after a heart attack caused the driver to lose control of the vehicle.

A Christchurch woman wants to thank five Blenheim men who saved her husband's life when his heart stopped as he was driving their campervan through a Blenheim roundabout.

Lois Holt was in the passenger seat with her husband, Alf Holt, 75, when his heart stopped at the Alfred St/Sinclair St roundabout just after noon.

The couple had just been to the funeral of Lois Holt's aunt, who lived in Linkwater, and were on their way to an afternoon tea following the funeral.

Her husband, who worked as a physical education teacher and taught gymnastics before he retired, was considered healthy up until the accident on Wednesday last week.

He often went away on his own in the campervan, Holt said.

She remembers driving up the road, over the curb, through the shrubbery and coming to a stop near the railway line.


Her husband was unconscious when five men appeared and started performing CPR.

If it wasn't for them, he would have died, she said.

"I just want to thank them," she said.

"They kept his heart stimulated until the ambulance came. If they hadn't done that, he wouldn't have made it."

It was a long four minutes for Holt as she sat on the ground and watched as the men worked on her husband.

"I was thinking ‘come on Alf, wake up'," she said.

"I thought he was gone."

The incident kept re-playing over and over in her mind.

Her husband couldn't understand what had happened when he first woke up. He was lucky he couldn't remember anything, Holt said.

When St John Ambulance staff arrived, they used a defibrillator to get his heart started, then took him to Wairau Hospital in Blenheim. Later that night he was transferred to Christchurch Hospital, and was discharged on Sunday.

He was OK now, although he did have sore ribs from the compressions, Lois Holt said.

She also wanted to thank the man who towed their campervan and later cleaned out the perishable food from the fridge, she said.

It took about about 1 hours for a large crane to lift the campervan off the railway tracks and put it on to a large truck.

The couple didn't know who performed CPR, but they were extremely grateful, Lois Holt said.

"I just want to say thank you very, very much," she said.

The Marlborough Express