Father thanks RAF personnel who saved him after suffering heart attack with family in the car
- Credit: Cpl Dave Blackburn, RAF
Military personnel rushed to the aid of a dad who crashed after suffering a heart attack with his wife and young children in the car.
Darren Ruck, from Barningham, near Thetford, was driving near RAF Honington on Father’s Day, June 21, when he suddenly slumped at the wheel.
Assuming he was playing a practical joke, Mr Ruck’s wife, Marie, asked what he was doing, but the 40-year-old lorry driver did not respond.
When she noticed he was no longer holding the steering wheel, Mrs Ruck knew something was seriously wrong.
Desperate to regain control of the swerving vehicle, the horror-stricken mother grabbed hold of the wheel and steered the family’s truck for more than half a mile before eventually crashing into trees off Green Lane.
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“Before the heart attack Darren was absolutely fine,” Mrs Ruck said. “He was chatting away and having a good bit of banter with his brother-in-law.
“After he lost consciousness I managed to keep the truck on the left side of the road, but then the panic hit me and there was a point when I just let go of the wheel.”
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Mr Ruck was fortunate that trainee gunners from Honington, aircraftsmen Thomas Allan and Troy Taylor-Morgan, were passing on their way back to base, and they were quick to pull him out of the damaged truck.
The pair were closely followed by Corporal Ed Stanley, whose wife - a nurse - immediately began CPR. She was assisted by Corporals Alexander Bates and Sam Waugh.
This week Mr Ruck and family were reunited with the personnel at RAF Honington, where he thanked them for their life-saving efforts.
Having been taken to Papworth Hospital, Mr Ruck suffered a second heart attack the following morning. He was then moved between Papworth and Addenbrooke’s Hospital, which are both in Cambridge, to have stents and a defibrillator fitted, before finally heading home three weeks after the collision.
“I remember nothing about that day,” said Mr Ruck. “There are a couple of bits from the days before, but that’s it. The first thing I remember is waking up in hospital and wondering what was happening.”
Mrs Ruck added: “I couldn’t visit him in hospital because of Covid, so I was just waiting by the phone.
“Now he’s home we keep saying how lucky we are that this didn’t happen when he was on his own.”