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Lifeguards save wounded warrior on Del Mar beach

DEL MAR, Calif. – Del Mar lifeguards are being credited with saving the life of a wounded warrior who suffered a heart attack last Thursday on the beach.

Wendell Barrett, 68, was participating in the Wounded Warriors weekly surfing clinic, hosted at the Del Mar Lifeguards station. During the session Barrett suffered a heart attack and collapsed on the beach.

A lifeguard on the beach and two in the tower saw the incident and rushed to help.

“Immediately checked his vital signs,” said Lt. Jon Edelbrock, Del Mar Lifeguards. “He was pulse-less and breathless so we started CPR. We intubated, dropped what’s called a king-tube to help maintain the airway, utilized suction.”

Despite best efforts it appeared Barrett did not survive.

“He was pulse-less and breathless for quite a period of time,” said Lt. Edelbrock.

Crews did not give up, however, and somehow Barrett pulled through. Before he was taken from the beach, his heartbeat had resumed.

This week Barrett sent a video message to the Del Mar lifeguards thanking them for their service.

“Thank you so much,” said Barrett. “I lived. Thank you for saving my life.”

The wounded warrior is now getting a second chance at life.

“To be part of it and to see a really positive outcome was amazing,” said Lt. Edelbrock. “And to see him sitting upright, he looks so much better, obviously, than the last time I’d seen him.”

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