Vacationing man meets Honolulu firefighter who saved him during heart attack

The off-duty firefighter and a nurse stepped in to perform CPR and use an AED to revive the man

By FireRescue1 Staff

HONOLULU — A California man met and thanked a Honolulu firefighter who saved him during a heart attack he suffered as he was about to head home from his Hawaii vacation.

Richard Schmidt, 76, collapsed on the jetway at a Honolulu airport while boarding his plane home to Sacramento, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Off-duty Firefighter Salesi Maumau and a nurse, who were also passengers on the plane, stepped in to aid Schmidt. After detecting no pulse, they performed CPR and used an AED from the airport, which allowed Schmidt to regain consciousness before being transported to the hospital. 

Schmidt underwent triple bypass heart surgery at a Honolulu hospital on Jan. 24. After recovering, he met Maumau at a news conference before traveling back to Sacramento.

“I am so grateful for … the strangers and the bystanders who stepped in at a moment’s notice and helped me. It happened so quickly,” said Schmidt. “Within two minutes after I had fallen, they applied one shock and brought me back. I can’t tell you how that makes me feel.”

Maumau said the experience was “very humbling” and expressed gratitude that Schmidt had recovered.

“(The AED) was absolutely important,” he said. “If it was not there then he would not have gotten the shock and his heart would not have reset.”


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