Thames Water engineer saves boy from choking as mother rushes from home in panic

A Thames Water engineer has been hailed a hero after saving a choking baby who had stopped breathing and was turning blue.

Jack Gale was carrying out maintenance work in a churchyard with a colleague when they heard the eight-month-old baby’s mother crying for help and came to the rescue.

The woman had rushed out of her Earl’s Court home carrying the little boy, who had suddenly stopped breathing and was changing colour from lack of oxygen.

Falling back on first aid skills learned in the Army, Mr Gale, 22, started massaging the child in a bid to clear his airways, while fellow engineer Wayne Stevens dialled 999.

For an agonising eight minutes Mr Gale used his emergency training as he held the child over his knee and rubbed his back.

Eventually the little boy coughed up mucus and started to breathe properly. He was taken to hospital and has since made a full recovery.

His mother, who asked not to be identified because of the “trauma” of the incident, said he saved her son’s life.

She said: “I’ll never be able to thank Jack enough for what he did — he’s a hero. We were at home when all of a sudden my son started struggling for breath, his eyes rolled into the back of his head and he went blue.“It was very scary but Jack was so calm and did a brilliant job. I’m just so grateful they were there as I dread to think what could have happened.”

Mr Gale, from Crowthorne in Berkshire, said: “We heard a woman screaming for help and saw the lifeless baby in her arms. My instincts just kicked in and the adrenaline took over.

“After a while I could feel him trying to breathe but he was hardly getting any air. It didn’t seem more than 30 seconds but it wasn’t until about eight minutes later when a load of phlegm came up.”

Within five minutes of his throat being cleared the baby was smiling as though nothing had happened, Mr Gale said.

The ambulance, which had not yet arrived, was stood down, although the baby was taken to hospital for a full check-up and given the all-clear by doctors following the incident on September 3.

A spokesman for Thames Water said: “Jack’s quick-thinking saved this baby’s life. We’re just so pleased he was in the right place at the right time here to help. He’s a hero.”

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