Fishermen’s heroics to save friend’s life

Gary Willmot with Simon Wainwright - one of the men who saved his life - in hospital. Picture: Simo

Gary Willmot with Simon Wainwright - one of the men who saved his life - in hospital. Picture: Simon Wainwright - Credit: Picture: Simon Wainwright

Fisherman may be known for their tall tales - but there was no need for exaggeration for two life-saving rod men.

Simon Wainwright and Dave Dibley leapt to the rescue, after their friend Gary Willmot went into cardiac arrest on a fishing venture at Burgh Castle Fisheries.

The trio had been night-fishing on Monday, October 17, when the following morning, at around 10,30 Mr Willmot, 54, complained of a pain in his chest.

Mr Wainwright said: 'I jokingly said to him: 'You're not going to have a heart attack are you?' But that's exactly what happened, and within moments he was blue in the face and in cardiac arrest.'

Mr Wainwright, of Bradwell immediately phoned for an ambulance and was given instructions on how to keep Mr Willmot alive.

The pair took turns in giving their friend CPR, while the ambulance and air ambulance were both despatched.

Mr Wainwright said: 'I honestly thought he was going to die, but kept shouting to him: 'I'm not going to let you die,'

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Mr Dibley added: 'I had done first aid courses in the past, but you never expect to actually have to do it. I'm glad we were able to help him.

'Looking back, I realise we were just doing our best to keep him alive, but it all happened so quickly.'

Once paramedics arrived Mr Willmot was treated using a chest compression system, before being airlifted to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, where he remained until Tuesday.

Mr Dibley, 56 of Lowestoft, said: 'I think the shock of it all kept us both calm. We both just did what we were told and were so determined to keep him with us. The paramedics were absolutely fantastic.'

Mr Wainwright, 36, added: 'When the ambulance crew came and shocked him, that was the point I thought he was going to die, but they did an amazing job. You don't appreciate just how much they do until it's happening there in front of you.'

Julie Hibbert, Mr Willmot's partner, with whom he lives on Cotswald Way, Lowestoft, said: 'I'm just so grateful to both Simon and Dave. From my point of view, they saved his life.

'Everybody at the hospital is so proud of what they did and say those first compressions of the heart are very important to saving someone's life. I can't thank them enough.'

Mr Wainwright and Mr Dibley, however, both down played their role.

Mr Wainwright, who has one daughter and a second due in December, said: 'Everybody has said we did a good job, but I don't feel like a super hero.'

Mr Dibley added: 'I'd have done it for anybody else. I'm just glad we were able to help.'