Rugby star rescues choker

2011-06-28 10:16

Wellington – Highlanders captain Jamie Mackintosh told how he saved the life of a choking woman by squeezing her “like a great big grizzly bear”, breaking one of her ribs in the process.

Mackintosh was at a Dunedin restaurant with teammates from the New Zealand Super Rugby club earlier this month when fellow diner Wendy Knight began choking after large piece of steak became lodged in her throat.

As the 44-year-old struggled for breath, the 130kg prop leapt into action, performing a rough-and-ready version of the Heimlich Manoeuvre.

“We asked if she was OK and seeing she couldn’t talk, I got in behind her and it was like a great big grizzly bear mauling some kind of small animal,” Mackintosh told the Otago Daily Times.

He said he had never received medical training but instinctively performed the Heimlich Manoeuvre, which involves sharply squeezing the abdomen to expel air from the lungs, dislodging any obstruction from the throat.

“I obviously buggered it up if I cracked her rib,” Mackintosh said.Knight said she had become Mackintosh’s biggest fan since her dramatic rescue, despite the broken rib, but would be changing her eating habits.

“I don’t think I will ever eat steak again,” she told the Otago Daily Times.

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