Off-Duty Vancouver Firefighter Saves Drowning Man in Puerto Vallarta

Tina Lovgreen - CBC News
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August 3, 2016


Vancouver Fire Battalion Chief Dan Christie and his wife were relaxing on the beach, playing backgammon during a vacation in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico when the yelling started.

"It was a strange yell," said Christie, "It was like there was distress."

The two glanced at each other and began running towards the ocean, where the screams originated. They soon discovered that someone had gone under the water and could not be found.

Christie would later learn that a group of friends from Wisconsin were boogie-boarding that morning when one of them, Steve Heim, 39, somehow wiped out and never came back up.

"He was probably being towed along the bottom," said Christie, recalling the incident that occurred in February.

"I was calling people to assist and to do things. I got the lifeguard to get some Sea-Doos so we could see things better ...

"By the time we got him out of the water I was thinking, 'No, it's been too long, we are going to lose this guy,' " he said.

Christie had given up hope because it had been at least 10 minutes since he was told that Heim had gone underwater.

"But that doesn't mean we are going to stop trying," said Christie, who with the help of a stranger gave Heim CPR.

"I gave him a couple of quick breaths and this guy just jumped on the chest to give CPR," said Christie, "I didn't know who he was but it didn't matter cause he was doing a good job."

Heim was quickly taken to a nearby hospital then flown to the U.S. for treatment.

Read the rest at CBC News.

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