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University of Greenwich lab technician Alan Staple, from Dartford, saved life of Chatham bus driver

By Nicola Jordan

A lab technician who had just completed a first aid course helped to save the life of a bus driver after he collapsed at the wheel of his vehicle.

Alan Staple was walking to work through Chatham when he saw the incident involving the Arriva bus causing rush hour chaos in the town centre.

While passengers inside frantically made calls on their mobile phones, Mr Staple managed to get into the driving seat and discovered the man in his 60s had stopped breathing.

Paramedics on the scene. Picture: Peter Jenkins

He immediately freed his airways and started to resuscitate him on the floor of the single-decker.

Mr Staple said: “He was unconscious, not breathing and his eyes had glazed over. Gradually after two lots of 30 compressions he started to breathe, but very erratically.”

Paramedics arrived and took the driver to Medway Maritime Hospital.

Mr Staple had been walking from Chatham Railway Station when he witnessed the accident in Railway Street and the junction of Best Street.

He said: “I believe everyone should be trained in basic CPR. If I had not been there it’s quite possible he may not have made it. It was a case of being in the right place at the right time.

“I would have felt so hopeless if I had not known what to do in a situation like that. I probably would not have forgiven myself for the rest of my life."

Dr Alan Staple, a technician at the University of Greenwich at Medway

Mr Staple who lives in Dartford, was walking to work at the University of Greenwich at Chatham Maritime, where he has just finished a refresher first aid course, last Wednesday.

Steven Williams, who is chief technician at the university’s school of science said the incident showed the importance of first aid training.

“I believe everyone should be trained in basic CPR. If I had not been there it’s quite possible he may not have made it" - Alan Staple

Mr Williams said: “We ask for volunteers to attend initially a three-day course with the British Red Cross and this is followed up every three years by a two-day refresher course. Alan completed one of these two weeks ago.

“As with Alan, this training doesn’t stop being useful at the end of the teaching day in our laboratory classes. The knowledge obtained can be required 24/7.”

Richard Lewis, Arriva’s regional publicity manager, said earlier this week that the driver, who is based at the Gillingham depot, was still in hospital undergoing tests.

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