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Man returns to Sky Harbor to thank first responders

Paul Mercurio meets some first responders who helped save his life. (KTAR Photo/Sandra Haros)

PHOENIX -- An elderly man returns to to Phoenix on Friday where first responders saved his life to thank them.

On March 6, Paul Mercurio traveled to Phoenix for a wedding. Upon arriving at Terminal 4 at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, he experienced a serious cardiac event.

"I was sort of floating away," he said. "I went into an area that where there was shining lights and stuff like that. I heard them say, 'He's back, he's back.' I guess I was somewhere I am glad I am not at now."

According to airport officials, two Phoenix police officers noticed the man in distress. Sgt. Robert Griffin called Phoenix Fire while Officer Forrest Conner retrieved an Automated External Defibrillator. The officers administered a shock with the AED before Officer Paul Rooks, who was also on-site, began giving CPR. Phoenix Fire arrived to stabilize Mercurio for transport.

Phoenix Fire Capt. Brian Mengis said it was the quick efforts of police as well as the fire crew that saved Mercurio's life.

"I'd like to tell them thank you for bringing me back to life," said Mercurio, who represents the 34th life that has been saved at Sky Harbor since the AED program started over a decade ago.

According to information provided by the airport, "Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport regularly trains employees and volunteers to administer CPR and correctly use AEDs in the event of an emergency.

There are more than 85 AEDs available at Phoenix Sky Harbor, Phoenix Deer Valley and Phoenix Goodyear airports. There will be AEDs in the PHX Sky Train™ stations as well."

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About the Author


Sandra moved from the small border city of Yuma, Arizona to study Broadcast Journalism at Arizona State University in the late 90s. Since graduating, she's worked at several local TV stations including Univision, Fox 10 and 3TV.

Working at KTAR, has allowed her the opportunity to cover major national news events, including Presidential visits, the Tucson Tragedy and the Wallow fire.

When Sandra isn't covering breaking news or behind a microphone in the studio, she's probably at home with her best friend Mark and her two dogs, Lily and Lola.

Sandra enjoys cooking and admits to enjoying "really bad" reality T.V. She also enjoys spending quiet time at home with people she loves, playing a little poker and traveling.

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