Virgin staff save Perth grandmother who suffered mid-air heart attack

·News Reporter
·3-min read

A Perth grandmother on board a Sydney to Perth flight suffered a heart attack mid-air prompting Virgin Australia staff to step in and save her life.

Jenny Holm was flying with her partner John Muller earlier this week when she suddenly became unwell, so he called the attendant for immediate help.

Recalling the ordeal, Ms Holm said she remembers "feeling really weird" just half an hour into the flight.

Jenny Holm from Perth, suffered a heart attack on board a Virgin Australia flight and credits staff to saving her life. Source: Supplied/Virgin Australia
Jenny Holm from Perth, suffered a heart attack on board a Virgin Australia flight and credits staff with saving her life. Source: Supplied/Virgin Australia

"My arms started to get pins and needles, I felt nauseous and short of breath and I said to John 'I just feel terrible'," she said.

"They put me on the ground near the entrance of the plane and I was laying on the floor for the next one-and-a-half hours just really trying to stay alive."

After experiencing pins and needles all over her body, Ms Holm suffered a heart attack and cabin manager Sarina Bedwell called for any doctors on board.

Thankfully, there were four doctors present who worked tirelessly to bring back Ms Holm's pulse, with help from cabin staff who provided oxygen and a saline solution.

Ms Holm was flying with her partner John Muller who called cabin crew for help. Source: Supplied/Virgin Australia
Ms Holm was flying with her partner John Muller who called cabin crew for help. Source: Supplied/Virgin Australia

'I didn't think I'd ever get home'

According to Ms Holm, the doctors on board "couldn't find a heartbeat or a pulse for a long time," but onboard assistance worked to bring her back to consciousness.

"We owe her life to them," Mr Muller said.

"At one stage there I didn't think I'd ever get home, so I just need to see the family and give them a hug," Ms Holm said.

The aircraft was diverted to Adelaide so Ms Holm could receive medical attention from the Royal Adelaide Hospital. She was discharged from hospital on Tuesday.

Terrible end to family holiday

The couple had just returned from a week in Fiji where they'd planned a family holiday with Mr Muller's daughter and her three children.

But last minute, the kids had issues with their passports which didn't come in time leaving Ms Holm and Mr Muller to enjoy the trip on their own.

They are now waiting in Perth for the couple who won't be arriving until next Wednesday.

The couple were offered a new flight back to Perth for free where they will be reunited with their grandchildren after a few more days' rest.

Meanwhile, passengers from the full flight were given hotel accommodation and moved onto a special service to Perth the next day, Virgin Australia said in a statement on Thursday.

Cabin manager Sarina Bedwell (right) responded to the couple and stayed with them during the ordeal. Source: Supplied/Virgin Australia
Cabin manager Sarina Bedwell (far right) responded to the couple and stayed with them during the ordeal. Source: Supplied/Virgin Australia

Mandatory training for airline staff

Virgin Australia confirmed all cabin crew undergo an intensive six-week initial training course, to comprehensively prepare for safety, security and medical occurrences they may encounter at 38,000ft.

Each team member must have their senior first aid certificate, and undergo an Aviation Medicine training program every two years to ensure their knowledge and skills are up to date.

This includes first-hand training on medical equipment, CPR and a debrief on real-life scenarios their colleagues have dealt with recently.

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