Login Register

Man sets fire to flip flops to alert rescue crews after friend suffers heart attack

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: August 14, 2014

  • Richard Jago, left, who saved his friend, John Peplow's had a heart attack

Comments (0)

A man who suffered a heart attack on a secluded beach was saved by his best friend who set fire to his flip flops to guide a rescue helicopter to their location.

Painter John 'Peps' Peplow, 51, was on a weekend camping trip with best pal Rich Jago, 45, when he suddenly passed out and suffered a heart attack on the sand.

Rich called 999 on his mobile phone then pumped dad-of-two John's heart to keep him alive on the secluded beach in Rock, Cornwall.

An air ambulance arrived but flew over twice without apparently spotting them.

Frantic Rich then decided to throw his flip flop into a fire to create smoke and attract their attention.

The trick worked and a second helicopter, a Sea King, landed before he was stabilised and flown to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro.

The pair - who have been friends for 30 years - had decided to visit Rock, across the River Camel from Padstow in Cornwall, on Friday, August 1, for the weekend.

Their break had barely started when John suffered the heart attack.

John, of Brixham, Devon said: "If it was not for my mate I would be dead. He saved my life.

"We had decided to get out of Brixham for the weekend and went down to Cornwall to chill out. We had put the tents up and had gone down to the beach after 1pm.

"I had started to roll a cigarette, but said to Rich 'can you roll this for me as I can't', and then felt pains in my chest.

"The next thing I know, I have passed out on the floor and am having a heart attack.

"Rich was pumping my heart and kept me awake. Luckily he had his phone with him and managed to get a reception and called the ambulance. I was kind of dead on the beach."

Rich, who works for Brixham Trawler Agents, said he was terrified during his attempts to save his friend.

He said: "The last time I did any first aid was when I was in the Boys Brigade.

"I called for an ambulance but we were three fields over so told them we needed the air ambulance.

"I was waving frantically to them to attract their attention as they flew over twice.

"I threw my flip flops into a fire to create some smoke to attract their attention.

"The air ambulance was unable to land though so they had to call for the Sea King helicopter to come.

"It landed and them stabilised John. They appeared to give him an aspirin and that seemed to bring him around."

An ambulance spokesman confirmed they received a call at 2:04pm reporting a male suffering chest pains.

The air ambulance was dispatched but was unable to land so a Sea King helicopter was called.

It landed and took John to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro where John remained until Wednesday when he was well enough to return home.

He said: "I was practically dead. I would like to thank everyone who helped save my life.

"Rich, the Sea King helicopter, the air ambulance, and the staff at Royal Cornwall Hospital, who were brilliant.

"I will be on the tablets for the rest of my life, but I thought I was gone."

Read more from Western Morning News

Do you have something to say? Leave your comment here...

max 4000 characters