May 25 was the day George Scott was pronounced clinically dead, but the quick-thinking actions of first responders mean the 62-year-old is alive to tell the story.

It was a Saturday morning when Scott jumped into his car at his home on the edges of Kaukapakapa and went to drive into the small village.

But he didn't quite make it, with Scott suffering a heart attack and going into cardiac arrest, causing his car to leave the road and crash through a fence and into a paddock.

Witnesses reported seeing a vehicle driving erratically down the road, and Scott slumped over in the driver's seat.

Advertisement

Aran Fairley, 36, was driving a couple of vehicles behind Scott and pulled over when he saw the car plough into the paddock.

Emergency services work to revive George Scott after he suffered a cardiac arrest while driving and crashed through a fence near Kaukapakapa on May 25. Photo / Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust
Emergency services work to revive George Scott after he suffered a cardiac arrest while driving and crashed through a fence near Kaukapakapa on May 25. Photo / Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust

"We had to grab some bolt cutters because all the Number 8 wire from the fence had wrapped around the door so we had to cut all that away.

"His car had central locking so we had to smash the window and turn the car off as it was still spinning in the mud, then literally we pulled him out and he was non-responsive, with no pulse, no nothing," Fairley said.

"I was the only one who knew CPR so I just got to work. I was just thinking 'keep him alive'."

Sam Allen, 37, was driving his son to rugby when he saw the commotion and decided to help.

"I saw the top half of George on the grass and Aran was busy working on him, going from chest to mouth.

"The first thing I thought was 'sh** this guy needs some help' because you can't be doing that on your own, so I pulled over," he said.

"I jumped in next to Aran who was already sorting the airway out so I started working on George's chest.

"I remember seeing his colour. He was purple grey and very much on his way out, but not gone.

"While we were working on him you could see his colour was getting better, so we knew it was having an effect."

George Scott in transferred to the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter to be flown to Auckland Central Hospital. Photo / Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust
George Scott in transferred to the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter to be flown to Auckland Central Hospital. Photo / Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust

It was about 10 minutes before Kaukapakapa Volunteer Fire Brigade turned up and hooked Scott up to an oxygen mask.

Then a few minutes later St John ambulance arrived with a Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

"When we arrived George was lying beside the car and clinically dead," St John ambulance officer Dan Spearing said.

"I remember George was very pale and very blue so he had very little oxygen in his system.

"But we soon recognised that he was in cardiac arrest, and the rhythm that he was in meant there was a bit of electricity in his heart, so essentially we had something to work with.

"We attached a defibrillator and delivered one shock and reverted George's heart to a rhythm that was basically compatible with life."

Volunteer firefighter Alison Constable said she initially thought it didn't look like a salvageable situation.

"I was quite surprised when the defibrillator advised us to shock.

"We knew we had been able to get him back as far as circulation and breathing, but getting him back to the state where his brain functions properly is always debatable," she said.

The Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter then arrived and transferred Scott to Auckland Central Hospital.

George Scott had a cardiac arrest while driving and is alive due to first responders. Pictured is Sam Allen, George Scott and Aran Fairley. Sam and Aran saved his life. Photo / Doug Sherring
George Scott had a cardiac arrest while driving and is alive due to first responders. Pictured is Sam Allen, George Scott and Aran Fairley. Sam and Aran saved his life. Photo / Doug Sherring

Crew chief Mark Cannell said Scott was in a critical condition during the flight.

"He wasn't looking very flash. We weren't convinced we were going to see him come out of that," he said.

"He didn't improve at all on the journey, in fact he came very close to re-arresting.

"It was one of those jobs I wouldn't even say was 50/50, it was probably less, but everything that needed to line up on that day did.

"Right from the first-response guys – if they hadn't done what they did then no amount of helicopters or anyone else turning up would have worked."

Scott spent the next six days in hospital, with his family playing a waiting game to learn his fate.

"We had no idea what the outcome was going to be - a) whether I would survive, or b) whether I would be brain damaged. I was out of it so it didn't affect me, but if frightened the crap out of my wife," he said.

It wasn't until Monday that he became conscious and was transferred to North Shore Hospital.

He received coronary stents and was put on medication and discharged on the Friday.

Pictured is George Scott, centre, with first responders who helped save his life after a cardiac arrest at the wheel of his car. Photo / Doug Sherring
Pictured is George Scott, centre, with first responders who helped save his life after a cardiac arrest at the wheel of his car. Photo / Doug Sherring

Five months later Scott met the 19 emergency service crew and first responders who saved his life.

On Wednesday during the reunion at his home, Scott was moved to tears and rendered speechless as he tried to explain how thankful he was.

"If it weren't for every one of those people, I wouldn't be here right now," he said.

"Certainly from my perspective every second counts, and if it weren't for Aran and Sam, everyone else there would have been irrelevant.

"That whole sequence of events and everyone in it, you couldn't have scripted it better in a Hollywood movie."

However for those involved, it was simply a miracle to see Scott alive.

"To see someone come back like that was just incredible," Sam Allen said.

"To see emergency services arrive and everything work for George was just brilliant. It is what it is all about. That is the reason why we have all of these services."

Dan Spearing said the reunion was "pretty surreal".

"It's not every day that we get to see this; the fact that he is walking, talking, smiling and laughing. I think it just sort of sends it right back home about it. It's absolutely amazing."

Mark Cannell said it was "spectacular".

"There is a low survival rate throughout the country, and the world in general, so to have him standing their talking to you in his backyard and sharing a drink with you is quite cool.

"The enormity has clearly sunk in for himself and his family that this was a life changing event."