Firefighter Kel Watson-Finch and his wife, Firefighter Laura Watson-Finch, both serving with the London Fire Brigade, were enjoying a well-earned holiday in Cornwall.
Kel is based at Hainault Fire Station while Laura is based at Romford Fire Station.
Also in the same area enjoying some time off, was Firefighter Shaun Bishop from Kingston Fire Station who was away with his wife.
Suddenly, a man who was winching a boat back on to Penetewan became seriously ill and slipped beneath the waves in front of startled beach-goers.
Several people rushed to the man’s aid, including the three London firefighters who were all on the beach at that time.
They used their Brigade-learnt first aid skills to help save the man’s life.
“Both myself and my wife sprinted across the beach to the unresponsive man.
“We checked for a pulse and tried talking to him, but we had no response.
“We then lifted him away from the water onto a slipway with another bystander where we tried again to get a response.
“He was showing signs of agonal gasp, and we couldn’t find a pulse, so we took it in turns to do CPR.”
The couple were then joined by Firefighter Shaun Bishop who offered to help with the rounds of CPR until paramedics arrived with a defibrillator and the air ambulance landed to take the man to Truro Hospital.
A couple of days later, Shaun and his wife went back to the same beach and met the man’s daughter, who passed on her father’s details so he could be visited in hospital.
“A couple of days later, I went to the hospital to see him and found out he is facing a triple heart bypass.
“As I approached the bed, I saw his wife first, and she gave me a massive hug and was crying.
“I shook his hand, and he was crying and saying that he couldn’t thank me enough.
“I felt emotional as well.
“When I got to him, he was basically dead and to see him three or four days later; it was an incredible feeling.”
All three firefighters said they didn’t think twice about helping when they saw the man, who was in his late 50s, collapse on the beach.
“It was just an immediate reaction to help. We acted purely by instinct with what we saw.
“The gentleman coming round and showing signs of life showed a positive outcome which is all we could hope for.”
Firefighter Laura Watson-Finch has been with the Brigade for 15 years, while her husband joined ten years ago having spent 12 years previously at Essex Fire and Rescue Service.
Firefighter Shaun Bishop has been with the Brigade for 16 years.