Two off Duty Deputies give CPR to passenger during flight

Summary– Two off duty King County Sheriff’s deputies who were flying back to Seattle from a conference gave CPR to a passenger who stopped breathing during the flight.


Story- The two deputies are assigned to the Sheriff’s Office Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighter Unit at Boeing Field (ARFF).  ARFF is the only unit on the department where deputies are trained as both law enforcement officers and fire fighters.


The deputies were returning from an ARFF Conference in Louisville on Alaska Airlines and had a connecting flight in Chicago.    During the flight from Chicago to Seattle, a flight attendant asked over the intercom if there were any medically-trained passengers on board.


Deputies Seth Grant and Graydon Matheson answered up and went to the front of the plane to assist.  The passenger, 81, collapsed and stopped breathing.  An ER doctor was also on board and joined in the effort.  Together the deputies and doctor delivered continuous CPR, while the pilots made an emergency landing in Spokane.  The team used an AED, which was part of the medical equipment on the aircraft, but the automated machine advised against shocking the man.  After landing the man was transferred to medics who were waiting at the airport.


Medics at the airport continued to provide aid to the man, and after about 20 minutes reported that his heart was beating on its own.


The deputies and the physician re-boarded the plane and arrived in Seattle last night evening.


The deputies said everyone worked together to save this man, the flight attendants, the physician and the pilots who made a quick, but safe landing as they did CPR.