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'He turned purple, we just ran to help him' - car heart attack heroes


Mark McDonnell and Laura Armada Buch

Mark McDonnell and Laura Armada Buch

Mark McDonnell and Laura Armada Buch

A quick-thinking couple have been hailed as heroes after they saved the life of a heart attack victim in Drogheda.

Mark McDonnell and Laura Armada Buch, from Termonfeckin, Co Louth, jumped into action when the man collapsed while driving in a packed car park at the M1 Retail Park.

Mark (46) managed to stop the swerving car before it crashed, while Laura then performed CPR on the man for 10 minutes until the emergency services arrived.

Their heroics also led to an adorable video, taken afterwards by Mark who caught their four-year old son Izan copying his mum - by giving CPR to a hot water bottle at home.


The drama unfolded when Mark and Laura and their two sons, Dylan (8) and Izan, were walking back from a kids' swimming lesson at the retail park.

Laura (37) said it all happened "in a flash" as she was putting the children in the car.

"Mark noticed a car that was making a funny noise coming around the corner," she said.

"All of a sudden he took off over to the car when he saw the driver fall back in the seat.

"As the car swerved, he pulled on the handbrake and took the keys from the ignition. I saw him ringing the emergency services and ran to see if I could help".

Luckily Laura, a fitness instructor, is trained in first aid.

"The man had turned purple in the face and was struggling to breathe. I was looking for a pulse but couldn't find one," she added.

"Other people had come on the scene at that point and I asked some men to lift him out of the car so I could perform CPR. The emergency services were also telling Mark to keep up CPR until the ambulance arrived."

Laura continued trying to resuscitate the victim for 10 minutes until paramedics got a pulse with a defibrillator and rushed him to hospital.

"It all happened so fast. His wife was also in the car and I think she was in a shocked state," she added. "Other people were making sure she was OK. I just remember thinking that he may not make it, but that I was going to give it my best shot to save him."

The couple were delighted to hear that the man was transferred to a Dublin hospital for a triple bypass and is now recovering well.

"His wife got in touch to thank us and her husband wants to meet up when he's able," said Laura.

The man's wife said he was recovering and that they would like to say a huge thank you to Laura and Mark.

Dylan and Izan had seen the drama unfold and later that evening Mark caught his younger son performing CPR on a hot water bottle.

In the clip, Izan explains to his dad that he saw his mum save a man's life and he would do CPR too until the man started breathing, adding that the hot water bottle unfortunately had no bones.