SQ321 turbulence: Welsh backpacker helped to perform CPR on 73-year-old man who died onboard

Welsh backpacker performed CPR on man who died onboard SQ321

A young backpacker from Wales recounted his experience on turbulence-hit Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight SQ321, when he performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the 73-year-old man who unfortunately passed away.

21-year-old Toby Pearl was on board the flight with his friend and like others, suffered injuries during the flight.

Source: Liam James-Morris via BBC

However, he did not hesitate to help the man, who was pronounced dead before the plane landed.

Welsh backpacker performs CPR on man who died onboard SQ321

Mr Pearl, who hails from Abergavenny in Wales, previously worked as a healthcare support worker before he decided to embark on a year-long backpacking journey in Australia.

He was en route to Australia with his friend, Mr Liam James-Morris, who planned to spend three months there on break from a sports nutrition degree.

When the flight hit severe turbulence, Mr Pearl was thrown into the air, along with his seat — then fell on passengers sitting a few rows behind him. Meanwhile, Mr James-Morris had his seatbelt on and was unharmed.

Source: Reuters via The Straits Times on Facebook

Once the first wave of chaos had subsided, cabin crew and passengers provided first-aid support to those in need, Japan Times reported.

When someone requested people with first-aid training, such as doctors and nurses, Mr Pearl ignored his injuries and went to help 73-year-old British man Geoffrey Kitchen, who’d reportedly suffered a heart attack.

Source: BBC

“Without really thinking, I jumped out the seat and over the aisle,” Mr Pearl told the BBC.

He said he, a doctor, and a nurse rendered medical assistance to the man. Mr Pearl continued to perform CPR on the man while the doctor on board helped other injured people.

“I worked as a healthcare worker at Llanarth Court Hospital as my main job before I came travelling, so I have some experience in healthcare, but this was stuff you don’t normally see,” Mr Pearl said.

Friend proud of Pearl

Unfortunately, after 30 minutes, they could not get a shocking rhythm on the automated external defibrillator (AED) and the man died before the plane landed.

The doctor later confirmed the man’s death, with the deceased’s wife, who was sitting nearby, witnessing everything.

Mr Pearl said the doctor’s decision “must have been a really hard call” considering the circumstances.

“I didn’t get the name of that doctor or the nurse who were with me, but there’s a lot of thanks for them as well,” he added.

Regardless of the outcome, Mr James-Morris was still proud of his friend.

He said: “I take my hat off to him completely, he literally put himself in danger — nobody knew what was going on.”

He just went straight into it headfirst.

Both of them thought they were going to die, and Mr Pearl’s father had feared the worst.

“My father said he was reading the news article as I rang him, and obviously seeing it said one passenger dead, he was assuming the worst,” Mr Pearl added.

They added that SIA had been “absolutely fantastic” and reportedly travelled onwards to Cairns on Sunday (26 May) after the airline provided several different options.

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Featured image adapted from BBC.

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