A Whakatāne nurse has praised the actions of a great team who came together to save a life at Ōhope beach on Saturday.

Brigit Billings was at West End beach on Sunday afternoon when she heard a crash. She was later told by a witness a cyclist was completing a circle of the park when he braked to avoid a reversing car.

The cyclist went over his handle bars and collided with the car.

"I rushed over and, at that stage, he was conscious and talking with us. I immediately asked someone to call 111 and then realised the man's pulse had stopped and he was turning grey," she told the Rotorua Daily Post.


Billings drew on her 20-years of nursing experience and began chest compressions.

"He came around and we put him into the recovery position but he arrested again and again he had no pulse."

CPR was resumed, this time by members of the public who had come to help, and Billings asked for someone to collect the defibrillator she knew was at the nearby Whakatāne Surf Life Saving Club.

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"There were a couple of big, burly guys there and they always encourage people to get a man to carry out chest compressions simply because, most times, they are stronger."

When the defibrillator arrived along with surf club members competing at a carnival at Ōhope beach, the group working on the man had managed to get a pulse.

Billings took the defibrillator from the surf club member and placed the pads on the man's chest.

"The surf club guys also started administering oxygen they had bought to the scene and helped with CPR. The oxygen definitely helped bring back some colour."


Billings said CPR was carried out for about 15 minutes until emergency services arrived, they took over the care of the man.

"I really have to pay tribute to the people who were on the scene. Shortly after I got to the man's side, another nurse, an anaesthetist technician, a trainee doctor and even a dentist, showed up.

"As well as the medical staff, members' of the public helped with CPR and making the man comfortable while others brought umbrellas and water over to us."

She was particularly pleased with the number of people who knew CPR.

"The fact that all these people had taken the time to learn how to save a life, that's impressive."

A spokesperson from the Bay of Plenty District Health Board said the man had been transferred to Middlemore Hospital at 4.30pm on Sunday.