Off-duty Portsmouth paramedic saves man who tried to take his own life on plane to Heathrow from Thailand

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on items purchased through this article, but that does not affect our editorial judgement.

An off-duty paramedic stepped in to save a man who reportedly tried to take his own life in an airplane bathroom.

Gareth Lines, 36, from Portsmouth, was travelling from Thailand to Heathrow when he heard a commotion at the back of the plane. He initially thought someone had collapsed - but soon realised it was more serious. Mr Lines used his training to administer CPR.

He said the incident highlights how important it is for everyone to know first aid. "I just thought 'what is going on?'", Mr Lines said. "It looked like someone had collapsed at the back of the plane, but it turned out to be worse than I'd thought and his heart had stopped. This gentleman had tried to end his life and the plane crew and I dragged him out into the kitchen area."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Gareth Lines, 36, of Portsmouth, save a man's life on board a plane to London Heathrow from Thailand. Picture: Gareth Lines/SWNSGareth Lines, 36, of Portsmouth, save a man's life on board a plane to London Heathrow from Thailand. Picture: Gareth Lines/SWNS
Gareth Lines, 36, of Portsmouth, save a man's life on board a plane to London Heathrow from Thailand. Picture: Gareth Lines/SWNS | Gareth Lines/SWNS

Mr Lines had been on a stag do before catching the flight home on the EVA Air BR67 flight from Bangkok to London Heathrow. Thirty minutes before the flight was due to land, a man had attempted to end his life in the plane cabin bathroom, it is claimed. Mr Lines said the plane had basic equipment onboard - including an automatic defibrillator and he asked the crew to bring him some oxygen - which he used.

"Without drugs we couldn't do much more," the 36-year-old added. "The guy was in cardiac arrest for 30 minutes then 15 minutes after the London ambulance crew arrived. They managed to get him to hospital and his heart was beating again. It is usually pretty fatal for anyone - if he hadn't had CPR... It surprised me as well. On the road we have a full complement of kit.

"Within 20 to 30 minutes we consider stopping CPR but the guy on the plane was down for a good 30 to 40 minutes - there is no chance he would have made it if he wouldn't have had CPR. Ultimately that's what is going to save someone's life." Mr Lines, who has been in the ambulance service for ten years years and a paramedic since 2019, says everyone should know CPR.

"It is something anyone should be able to do - it shouldn't have to take a professional to do it," he added. "Good quality CPR is all that is needed to potentially keep someone alive in the event of a cardiac arrest - before the emergency services arrive. You never know. I certainly didn't expect it either way. It was interesting landing whilst doing CPR - certainly a new experience. I was thankful to have the support of the airline staff, who remained calm in the difficult circumstances - and to the pilot for a fairly smooth landing as well." EVA Air confirmed the incident on the BR67 Bangkok-London flight on March 15, reports The Sun. The airline has been approached for comment. If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article you can talk to your GP, phone 111 or text SHOUT to 85258. Alternatively you can call the Samaritans on 116 123, email [email protected] or visit the website. There is also a list of local services available here. If you've been affected by suicide, Amparo is a dedicated support service providing practical and emotional support after bereavement. Call 0330 088 9255, email [email protected] or visit amparo.org.uk.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.