While on vacation in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico last month, David Faulkner’s playful beach day was interrupted by the cries of a man in the ocean.
The off-duty fire inspector from Saskatoon ran into the water and was told the man’s friend, Stevie, had been hit by a wave and didn’t resurface. It took about five minutes for Faulkner and a few others to find the submerged man in the surf.
“It seemed like forever, which always happens with emergencies,” Faulkner said.
He flagged down a Sea-Doo operator and used the watercraft to carry Stevie back to the beach. The man had no pulse and wasn’t breathing, so a resort worker gave him CPR while Faulkner monitored his vital signs.
After a number of compressions, Faulkner turned Stevie on his side and pushed on his stomach, causing water to pour out of his mouth. Faulkner said it was a bit chaotic because a large group had formed, with many shouting out different directions.
The resort worker continued on with CPR and Faulkner did another round of vital checks.
“And I see his lip quiver and I could also feel his pulse had come back,” he said.
The man from Texas was soon whisked away to a hospital.
“Later on that night I was feeling pretty down. I didn’t think he was going to make it,” Faulkner said. “I thought he just recovered and that would be it. Sometimes that happens where you bring people back but they’re really not back.”
The next night, when he was asking for updates, Faulkner said he was “floored” to hear Stevie was back at his resort. A woman told him the man’s friends had even briefly taken him down to the beach, to the exact spot where the rescue took place.
Faulkner never did get to talk with Stevie. But he said he is grateful there were people at the resort who had the skills to keep him alive.
“I’m glad I do what I do. We do our job 24/7 as they say,” Faulkner said, adding he found it strange that not all resorts have lifeguards or Emergency Medical Services.
After he shared his story with people in Saskatoon, some jokingly warned others not to travel with Faulkner. The fire inspector with the Saskatoon Fire Department said this is the third water-related rescue he’s been involved with during a holiday.
“And then the other half is like, ‘are you kidding? I want someone like Dave around when I go on vacation’,” he laughed.