A ROSSENDALE family is trying to trace the fireman who saved a nurse's life after she suffered a heart attack in Alicante airport.
Sheila Dawson, 61 who lives in Waterfoot, went into cardiac arrest as her plane landed at the Spanish airport on May 13. Airline staff wheeled Sheila from the aircraft to the check-out area, where the heroic man noticed her plight and rushed over, dropping his bags on the floor so he could resuscitate her. Shelia’s son, Paul Coulson, launched a Facebook campaign to find the man to thank him for saving his mother's life. His appeal has since gone viral and has been shared more than 200,000 times. Sheila said: “It’s just unbelievable that so many people are wanting to help us and I really hope we can track him down. “When I told my son about it he said that he just wanted to shake the man’s hand and I would love to be able to thank him. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here today. It just can’t go unnoticed.” Sheila was travelling with her best friend, Pat Dennis, and looking forward to a four-day break in Benidorm. But as the plane began to descend, the Fairfield Hospital mental health nurse started to feel sharp pains in her chest. She added: “I began to feel really unwell and I was struggling to breathe. “I told my friend, who told me to keep calm and that we’d land soon and I’d feel better after I got some fresh air. “We waited until everyone had got off the plane and the staff brought me a wheelchair but I don’t really remember anything after that. “Pat is completely cut up that she didn’t ask the man, or his wife what their names were or where they were from but she was just panicing so much and was so worried about me that she just didn’t think of it. “The man told Pat that he was a first responder fireman and started to give me CPR. He was travelling with his partner, I assume it was his wife, who Pat said was just lovely. “She really tried to calm Pat down and even contacted my family back in England to let them know what had happened. “They were both absolutely wonderful and it would be just brilliant to be able to thank him. That’s all I want to do, just say thank-you to him.” Her son Paul, 37, said that he was devastated to hear the news that his mother had had a heart attack and had to spend nine days in an intensive care unit in Alicante. She later returned home after undergoing cardiac surgery at the Spanish hospital. Paul added: “I couldn’t believe it. She has never had health problems like this before and nobody was expecting it. My eldest daughter, Sophie, was so upset and worried about her. “It wasn’t really until she got home that we found out the extent of what had happened and how this fireman had come to her rescue. “As soon as my Mum told me, I immediately knew we had to try to track him down. “My mum was saying that we wouldn’t be able to as she didn’t even get his name but I just thought, well we’ve got Facebook, so I’m sure that won’t matter.” Fire services back home have also agreed to feature their appeal in local newsletters, in a bid to track down the modest hero. Paul added: “It’s brilliant to see people come together like this and hopefully we’ll be able to thank the man and his wife for everything he’s done for us.”