Wednesday 7 December 2016

Binman whose life was saved by hero schoolgirl presents her with bunch of flowers

Published 14/04/2016 | 02:30

Victoria Williamson Gaine pictured with Panda Waste Employee, Florin Popa at her school
Victoria Williamson Gaine pictured with Panda Waste Employee, Florin Popa at her school
Victoria Williamson Gaine pictured with Panda Waste Employee, Florin Popa at her school yesterday
Victoria Gaine
Victoria Gaine, 16, outside her house in Shankhill where she helped save life of binman. Shankhill, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Victoria Gaine, 16, and her mother Viv outside their house in Shankhill where they helped save life of binman. Shankhill, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

THIS is the first meeting between hero student Victoria Williams-Gaine and Florin Popa, since she saved his life.

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Mr Popa (39) today surprised the transition year student at her school St Joseph of Cluny, in Killiney, and presented her with a mixed bouquet of flowers.

Victoria Gaine, 16, and her mother Viv outside their house in Shankhill where they helped save life of binman. Shankhill, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Victoria Gaine, 16, and her mother Viv outside their house in Shankhill where they helped save life of binman. Shankhill, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

Victoria (16) performed lifesaving CPR on Mr Popa, after he collapsed outside her home in Shankill on March 23.

The Panda Waste employee thanked Victoria for saving his life, while the company also donated a defibrillator to the school as a sign of gratitude.

He has not yet returned from work and is continuing his recovery from the heart attack he suffered.

Transition Year student Victoria Williams-Gaine (16), from Shankill, Co Dublin,  was hailed as a hero after she saved Mr Popa's life outside her home

Victoria learned how to administer life-saving CPR in school just weeks before the Panda Waste worker (39) collapsed outside her house.

Mr Popa, originally from Romania, would have died if not for the quick intervention of the teenager. His work colleagues have described Victoria as a "superstar" and said Mr Popa was very grateful to her for saving his life.

The incident happened on March 23 just before Victoria and her family were due to fly to New York.

Victoria's mother Viv Gaine saw the bin lorry outside the house at around 9am and went out, hoping to empty some bits of rubbish before the workers collected the bins.

"When I went out, the truck was outside and I could see the man on the ground.

"I dialled 999 and I shouted up to Victoria. The ambulance man asked if he was breathing and I said no.

"Victoria got down and she started to do CPR on him," Ms Gaine said.

Within four or five minutes, the first ambulance arrived.

Victoria's work was not finished, however - when the medics saw she was competently administering the lifesaving procedure, she was asked to continue.

"The ambulance men realised that she knew what she was doing and it allowed them to set up," Ms Gaine said. A second ambulance soon arrived and Mr Popa was placed into it.

Both Victoria and her mother could hear the medics saying that he had no pulse, before confirming that it had returned.

Within 30 minutes, he was transferred to St Vincent's Hospital on Merrion Road.

Ms Gaine said that her daughter became very upset when she realised what a close call it was.

Ms Gaine said the crucial factor was that her daughter had learned CPR in her school St Joseph of Cluny, in Killiney.

A spokesman for Panda praised Victoria, describing her as a "superstar".

Irish Independent

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