French customs officer stamps Briton’s passport, then saves his life

The officer performed CPR when the man collapsed with breathing problems on his way to a family wedding

Airport: French customs officer saves life of Briton on way to goddaughter’s wedding
Published Last updated

A French customs officer saved the life of a British traveller after he collapsed as he passed by passport stamping.

The officer immediately performed CPR for several minutes until the emergency services arrived, allowing blood to circulate to the man’s heart and brain.

The drama happened at Rennes-Saint-Jacques airport (Brittany) as Kevin Smith arrived on his way to a wedding in Brittany on October 6.

He had started to feel unwell as he passed through customs but then suddenly collapsed.

Customs officer Lionel Casier, who had just stamped his passport, told The Connexion: "When I saw that he had his mouth open trying to inhale some air, something we call ‘GASP’ syndrome, a telltale sign for a heart attack, I started compressions right away."

Quick reflexes

He continued CPR and mouth to mouth until the ambulance team took over. “I did compressions for around two minutes in order to send blood to his brain and heart. He came around quite quickly but for me it seemed like an eternity,” said Mr Casier.

Mr Smith was then transported to the cardiac emergency room of Rennes-Pontchaillou where he was given a full cardiac check-up.

Doctors did not need to operate but monitored his health overnight and he was let out the next day in time to attend his goddaughter's wedding in Fougères (Ille-et-Vilaine).

"His eldest daughter sent me a photo of Mr Smith at the wedding. They have also invited me to visit in London and Coventry," said Mr Casier. "I did not do this for any reward, I just went in headfirst into doing what was needed.

"Saving a life is an enormous responsibility and an immense honour, an unspeakable pride and a joy to make the victim and his loved ones happy!"

He said his life motto is "to protect" having spent 15 years as a volunteer firefighter, an educator for the judicial protection of young people and 18 years in the navy as a dog handler and kennel manager prior to being a customs officer.

Read also

French medics take heart machine out of hospitals and onto the streets

Remote monitoring of patients in France moves into the mainstream

‘Sleeping’ woman on London-Nice flight had actually died