Commotion at the Aquamotion - unconscious driver saved

3 November 2020

The road outside Wanneroo Aquamotion became the scene of an emergency earlier this year when a woman named Margaret suffered a seizure while driving. Jane Ferguson was in her car when she was hit by Margaret’s vehicle, but she quickly realised this was no ordinary prang and that something was very wrong with the other driver.

Jane immediately ran to check on Margaret, who was losing consciousness, while bystander Rebecca Wilton phoned for an ambulance before coming to assist. Meanwhile, staff at the Aquamotion had become aware of the situation and five staff members – Kimberley Amos, Daniel Webb, Shelby Hyde, Samuel Cox and Rianna Matulin – arrived on the scene. 

Daniel Webb, Aquamotion's facilities specialist, said, “It was a business-as-usual day at Wanneroo Aquamotion; kids were having fun in the pool and people were making the most of the day, then we heard someone running in saying ‘please help, please help there’s been a car crash!’ She said there was a lady not looking so good in one of the cars. I was at the reception desk, so I ran out and grabbed the Aquatic Supervisor along with an oxygen kit and defib and we quickly made our way outside.”

By this time, Margaret was unresponsive and having difficulty breathing. The group were unable to maintain her airway in the vehicle so they removed her from the car and placed her on the ground, where Sam, Shelby and Rianna put her into the recovery position and applied oxygen. The others assisted with managing the scene, directing traffic and supporting the first aid effort. Margaret slowly came to and was breathing normally by the time the ambulance arrived. 

Jane’s two children were also looked after by Aquamotion staff who took them inside, away from the scene. “We didn’t want two little kids in the other car to see what was going on, so one of our staff took the kids to the creche supervisor and arranged for the kids to be looked after in the creche while we were dealing with the incident,” said Daniel.

Jane, Rebecca, Sam, Shelby and Rianna all received Gold Star Bravery Awards for their roles in the response, with Kimberley and Daniel both receiving a Bravery Commendation for their actions. Paramedics later told the Aquamotion team that Margaret had a few relapses on the way to hospital but had undergone surgery. “They came down later to visit us and debrief us on the incident and they made it very clear that if it hadn’t been for my team and their actions, Margaret wouldn’t be here with us today,” said Daniel.

“What was even better is that Margaret visited us recently and just to see her happy and healthy was incredible. She’s now got a pacemaker in and is doing really well. Other than having had a cardiac arrest and a couple of broken ribs she’s now back to living a happy and healthy life!”

“Because of the regular training our team does with Royal Life Saving, when the incident happened, we all just went into automatic. The training kicks in and you just do what you need to do. Luckily for Margaret, the accident happened right outside of Aquamotion and there were lots of us lifeguards and aquatic supervisors there fully trained to help her. This incident alone shows why training, whether you’re in a lifesaving environment or not, is vital to preserve life when you need to!”  

If you know someone who has acted to save the life of someone else why not nominate them for a Royal Life Saving Bravery Award. You can find out more and complete the nomination form at the link below.

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