Orange County firefighters revive man on flight to Houston

Firefighter-paramedics on way to conference credited with saving man's life on plane

Two Orange County firefighters are being credited with saving a man's life Friday morning after they revived him midair on a flight from John Wayne Airport to Houston.

Alex Van and Donovan George are firefighter-paramedics with the Orange County Fire Authority and were traveling on United Flight 333 to Houston with their two canine partners for a training seminar.

Mid-flight, a 70-year-old passenger seated in front of them stood up and called for help, said Capt. Steve Concialdi of the Orange County Fire Authority.

The man looked pale and said he was feeling light-headed and dizzy. Van caught him just as he collapsed, Concialdi said.

The man went into cardiac arrest, Concialdi said, and the paramedics immediately began CPR. They hooked him up to an IV and used a defibrillator provided by the flight crew as the pilot diverted the plane to Phoenix.

By the time Phoenix firefighters reached the plane at Sky Harbor International Airport, Concialdi said, the man was alert and talking. The patient, who was scheduled to fly home to Florida, asked to continue his trip but was taken to a hospital.

"If they hadn't acted, he probably would not be alive," Concialdi said of the patient.

After a brief delay, Concialdi said, the plane went on to Texas.

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