First responders, TSA officers help save pilot in cardiac arrest

It started off as a normal day for TSA Officer Nigel Allen and Lead TSA Officer, Trenard Collier.
Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 7:24 AM CDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT/Gray News) - TSA officers and first responders jumped in to help save a pilot in cardiac arrest at Richmond International Airport in Virginia, WWBT reports.

While TSA Officer Nigel Allen and Lead TSA Officer Trenard Collier were in the middle of their daily security operations, they noticed a pilot on the other side of the atrium staggering.

The pilot then collapsed, and Allen sprinted across the atrium to help.

“He just left and went into a gallop to be the first one on the scene and comfort him,” said Chuck Burke, TSA federal security director at Richmond International Airport.

Allen did CPR on the pilot until first responders arrived.

“Next thing you know, he dropped to the ground. I ran over just to make sure he was OK. His neck was kind of bending, so I held it up, and I noticed that he was having trouble breathing, so I tried to have his airways opened,” he said. “When I noticed he started turning purple and his breathing stopped, we started to perform the CPR procedure.”

Both Richmond Police Chief Tanika Brown and Richmond Fire Chief Doug Martin were in a meeting when they got the call about the pilot collapsing. At first, the call was for a person down but then it was upgraded.

“The next thing that came out of the radio was, ‘The person’s turning blue,’” Martin said.

Both fire and police crews rushed to the airport.

“It’s more than just a call. That’s a person, that’s a parent, that’s a husband,” Brown said.

Professionals took over CPR for Allen while he ran to get an automated external defibrillator.

“Police, the fire and rescue, everybody else, they knew what they were doing, and that’s what saved his life,” Burke said.

The pilot’s heart stopped, so the AED was used to bring the pilot’s heartbeat back.

“I couldn’t be prouder of my team and my staff and how they support not only the national mission of protecting airways but the community and provide service like that without giving it a thought,” Burke said.