Saved by an angel at 30,000 feet

editorial image
Have your say

Quick thinking cabin crew saved the life of a holidaymaker when he became gravely ill while stranded midair on board a flight.

Carl Harrison has now thanked air stewardess Natalie Bond for coming to his rescue when his body went into spasm and his temperature rocketed to 44 degrees Celsius - around four degrees higher than the temperature at which the body starts shutting down - while thousands of feet in the air.

The 59-year-old still had more than an hour to endure on board the flight before it touched down at Robin Hood Airport and paramedics whisked him away to Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

Mr Harrison, of Norton, said: “I didn’t realise how ill I was at the time but I was at death’s door. My whole body started shaking, it was terrifying really.

“An air hostess came over and gave me oxygen which seemed to help, she sat with me for the rest of the flight.

“I was saying at the time that I would be OK but she realised the danger and radioed ahead to Doncaster and had a paramedic waiting for me.

“When paramedics took my temperature it was 44 degrees. I was told later that you can die if it even gets to 40, so I’m lucky to be alive.

“The staff were brilliant, I can’t praise them enough, particularly the woman who contacted the paramedics. If wasn’t for her quick thinking I might not have made it, she saved my life.”

Mr Harrison, who has three children, 35-year-old Katie, 33-year-old Adam and Steven, 32, was returning from Malaga on board a Thomson flight with his wife Susan when he was taken ill.

He spent just over a week in hospital.

It is not yet known what caused the property company managing director’s illness but medics believe it may have been an infection that had flared up following an operation last year.

Mr Harrison, who is now recovering at his home in Ryecroft Avenue, said he noticed something was not quite right the night before they flew home on January 24.

He said: “I was shivering, just like I was cold, I thought it might be my diabetes at first.

“I’m just fortunate that I was on my home from the holiday rather than on my way there.”

Natalie, who is based at Robin Hood and who has worked for Thomson for nearly nine years said: “I was walking down the aisle doing my usual checks when I was asked for a glass of water by Mr Harrison. I got him some water and noticed that he was shaking so I asked if he was alright.

“I was aware that he was unwell but initially I didn’t realise how ill he was. I followed my training and knew that it was better to be safe than sorry. He also began to look visibly unwell which highlighted the severity of the situation to me.

“This is the first time I have helped in a medical emergency where paramedics have taken over from me. I feel a bit emotional to know that he feels like I saved his life, but I was only doing my job.”

A spokesman for Thomson Airways added: “We are really pleased that Natalie was able to use her skills to help Mr Harrison and he has made a good recovery.”

Steve Gill, managing director of Robin Hood Airport said: “We are very happy to hear that Mr Harrison is on the mend and has praised the airport staff and cabin crew for the assistance they gave him.

“Our staff work incredibly hard to provide the highest level of customer service and it is great to receive such positive feedback from Mr Harrison. We wish him all the best.”

Back to the top of the page