Leisure Centre team thanked for lifesaving actions

From left, members of the Leisure Centre team who worked together to save a life: Chantal Walker, Tracey McGuire, Zac Wilcox-Brown, Carmena Wong and James Lee.

A group of people who work at the Stanmore Bay Pool & Leisure Centre was recognised with a special award for quick thinking and teamwork that helped save a man’s life.

Among them is 19-year-old Zac Wilcox-Brown of Army Bay who says finding a man unconscious in the centre’s sauna last July was an enormous shock. It is the first incident he has had to respond to in three years of working as a lifeguard at the centre.

The sauna is checked regularly and it was on one of those checks that Zac found the man unresponsive and alone in the sauna after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Zac, aquatics manager Martin French and lead lifeguard James Lee, carried the patient out to the main pool area.

Meanwhile, Chantal Walker, Tracey McGuire and Carmena Wong had worked together to contact emergency services, clear the pools and spa, which were full due to the school holidays, and close the centre.

Zac commenced CPR while James and Martin attached the defibrillator and oxygen.

They maintained CPR and used the defibrillator several times before the ambulance arrived, 15 minutes after the call went out.

The patient, who does not want to be named, is in his 60s and has a history of heart problems. He made a full recovery and returned to the Leisure Centre recently to thank the team.

It also took Zac some time to recover from the incident, with the help of trauma counselling and a week off work.

“As I sit by the pool, I go over possible scenarios all the time, but when you realise someone’s life is in your hands, it’s pretty overwhelming,” Zac says.

At Auckland Council Pools and Leisure’s annual Be Inspired awards, the group received a Special Recognition award for outstanding teamwork and performing under pressure.

Zac says the patient is back at the centre now. “I’ve told him he can’t go in the sauna,” he says.


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