Video shows Hemel Hempstead scuba divers providing vital first aid to woman who had fallen ill outside Co-op

An elderly woman was in need of immediate assistance outside the shop
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A pair of scuba divers from Hemel Hempstead used their oxygen tanks to assist a fallen woman, en-route to a dive.

Andrew Lowde and Matthew Harland had been travelling to Gildenburgh Water when they were called into action to help a woman, believed to be in her 80s, who had been taken ill.

The pair of divers were able to provide vital first aid to a pensioner who had fallen ill in a store – using the kit they normally need under water.

Scuba divers Andrew Lowde and Matthew Harland at Whittlesey Dive Centre.Scuba divers Andrew Lowde and Matthew Harland at Whittlesey Dive Centre.
Scuba divers Andrew Lowde and Matthew Harland at Whittlesey Dive Centre.

Andrew and Matthew had driven to Whittlesey from Hemel Hempstead to dive at Gildenburgh Water – but stopped on their way for a drink.

While at the Co-op on Thursday morning (26 January), their trip took an unexpected turn – and the pair had to use their diving kit to come to the aid of the woman who needed medical help.

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Andrew said: “We went to the Co-op round the corner to pick up some water.

"When we got there, there was an elderly lady, sitting in chair, and people were saying she had been taken ill.

"We saw her and she was going a purple colour, which is a sign of oxygen starvation.

"She was very frail, and you could see her condition was deteriorating.

“The staff there were doing a good job at being sympathetic, but she was going down hill quite rapidly.

"We are not medically trained, but we have done a bit more than the basic first aid training.

"We got someone to call 999, and we started talking to her, trying to keep her awake.

"We were told the ambulance was going to be about an hour and a half, so we made the decision to go and get the oxygen tanks we have for diving.

"We gave her oxygen for about 10 minutes. Before that, she was really panicking, but the oxygen really settled her down.

“After a few minutes she really perked up – she was telling us about her family.

"She wanted to go home, but we told her she should go with the ambulance.

"It could have been a lot worse – she was looking very frail when we arrived, and her condition was getting worse. We were definitely in the right place at the right time to help her.”

Andrew said his training as a scuba diver had been vital. He said: “I’ve been diving since 2001, and over the years you take a few courses and things.

"I have done a dive leader course with the British Sub-Aqua Club, and part of that was the life savers award.

"I’ve used my diving skills a few times on land, and it all started to come together, and I was able to help someone.”

Now Andrew and Matthew are trying to find out how the woman is doing following her incident.

Andrew said: “She said she did not have any family locally, so we were not able to get any contact details for anyone. We would love to know how she is doing now, and if she is OK.”