Quick reactions from a group of Rotorua locals saved a man's life when he was found unresponsive in his car on Sunset Rd.
With no pulse, the man's fate was not looking good.
But Rohan Knowles, Simon Kirner and Selena Layne acted quickly, along with perfect timing from ambulance paramedic Jordan Retemeyer and emergency medical assistant Amelia Fleming and an off-duty firefighter, who happened to be driving past.
Knowles and Kirner pulled the man from his car, cut his shirt open and started CPR while the ambulance officer worked quickly to get a defibrillator ready.
He was "shocked" once before the passing firefighter, who could not be reached for comment, continued CPR.
"The fireman then took over and did CPR for 10 to 20 seconds and boom - his eyes came to life," Kirner said.
He described the situation as "unreal" and put their quick actions down to knowing first aid.
"I've done a couple of courses and usually hate them and switch off and sit down the back but they actually really help."
The locals were headed home from work on Monday about 5.45pm on Sunset Rd when the drama unfolded.
Kirner said he and Layne, his girlfriend, were driving when they saw the man's car cross the centreline in their path. The car then stopped.
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"I thought it was a drunk driver so I immediately got out of the car and ripped the keys out of the ignition."
But Kirner soon realised the man was in trouble. Layne, who is a registered nurse, could not get a pulse and he was unresponsive.
Knowles then arrived and, with Kirner, they pulled the man out of the car.
An ambulance, which was taking an injured elderly woman to hospital, arrived among the traffic and Retemeyer swung into action.
Layne said she got into the ambulance and explained the situation to the elderly woman and kept her calm while the men worked on the unresponsive patient on the road.
Knowles said he had done a few first aid courses and knew what to do. He did chest compressions until the defibrillator was ready.
Knowles said it was a team effort and he was glad he could help.
"It was one of those final flight instinct things, you just do what you've got to do and the scary part comes afterwards ... I would far rather his friends and family get a call to say he is in hospital being taken care of instead of a phone call to say he is no more."
Kirner said he would not forget the relief they all felt when the man started breathing again.
"All of a sudden his eyes lit up and he jumped back to life ... He was like a possum in headlights ... He would have been dead, no two ways about it."
Layne said she was really proud of Kirner and Knowles.
"Both he and Rohan remained calm and collected ... I knew from my training and experience we were in an urgent life or death situation."
The man spent Monday night in Rotorua Hospital and was transferred to Waikato Hospital yesterday.
St John territory manager Leisa Tocknell said death from cardiac arrest could happen to anyone of any age, even if they were fit and well.
Survival rates could be dramatically improved with bystander CPR and use of a defibrillator within the first few minutes.
"We want everyone to learn to take the three steps for life by knowing how to call an ambulance, start CPR and use a defibrillator."
It is International Restart a Heart Day on October 16 and St John is joining with emergency and health organisations to raise awareness about out of hospital cardiac arrest and how to save a life.
St John has a free CPR app to teach how to do resuscitation.