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After teaching CPR in Thailand, Calvin University students save life at airport

In World
June 08, 2024

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A group of Calvin University swim team members spent two weeks in Thailand this spring teaching English, water survival skills and CPR. But they had no idea they would use those skills at the airport.

The students were on a mission to help others in Thailand.

“We were there teaching swim lessons and English curriculum to students in a village school,” swimmer Ryan Halberg said.

Calvin swim team teaches students in Thailand swim, survival skills

They didn’t expect to help someone on the flight back.

“We are getting in line to go through customs, and then all of the sudden, we hear,” Halberg recounted.

“A woman just yelling for medical, medical, medical,” said Nathan Kaestner, who is also on Calvin’s swim team.

Kaestner and Halberg quickly ran to the man who had collapsed and got to work. The two, as well as another man, took turns performing CPR.

“At first I was like, ‘Oh no, this isn’t working,’ because I couldn’t get his chest down,” Kaestner said. “And then it got easier and easier. ‘Okay, I’m starting to get the rhythm, it’s working.’”

They performed CPR for more than five minutes.

“We could see his chest rising and felt his heart beating when he came back,” Halberg said.

“We all felt a sigh of relief,” Kaestner said.

Then the paramedics arrived.

“We saw them get him on a stretcher. He was conscious and alive,” Kaestner said.

“We were thankful to be in the right place at the right time,” Halberg said. “And I think it’s something that I will definitely remember for the rest of my life, for sure.”

It was a good feeling to put their training to work and save a life.

“Knowing what we are teaching these kids in Thailand is really beneficial and that it works, and then being able to do it in real life, was definitely an experience,” Kaestner said.

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