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Firefighters aid ailing man on flight to Las Vegas


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. >> A man who collapsed during a United Airlines flight from Houston to Las Vegas was fortunate that a group of Jacksonville firefighters were onboard en route to a bachelor party.

The group was on the final leg of their flight Tuesday when a voice came over the plane’s intercom, asking if any passengers had medical training.

Jacksonville fire engineer Jason Kerr was one of the men to respond.

“We found a 41-year-old man on the ground. His skin color was ashen, gray, and his lips were blue,” Kerr said.

Along with fellow Jacksonville firefighters Chris Lewis and Mike Lesniak, the group set to treating the ill passenger.

They elevated his legs to get blood flowing to his heart, and used an onboard medical kit to start an IV of fluids.

The man’s blood pressure and heart rate improved, and the crew called for emergency services to meet them at the gate.

Kerr, who was traveling to Las Vegas for his bachelor party, said the man was alert and looking better when they landed.

“This was a very interesting way to start the bachelor weekend,” Kerr said. “But this is what we do. We’re fire men 24-7.”

Jennifer Dohm, a United spokeswoman, couldn’t immediately verify what happened on the plane.

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