Bystanders save life of Boston Marathon runner

Bystanders save life of Boston Marathon runner

Published Apr. 20, 2010 1:00 a.m. ET

One Boston Marathon runner is particularly thankful for the crowds who cheered him on during the race Monday. Without them, he may not be alive today.

A 64-year-old man collapsed after going into cardiac arrest less than two miles from the end of the marathon Monday, according to Boston television station WCVB.

Spectators quickly jumped in to administer CPR to the runner before paramedics patrolling the route on bicycle and an ambulance on standby near the route came to his rescue. One of the responding EMS workers had a life-saving automated defibrillator with her.

"It was so surreal how we can be at the right place at the right time with the right equipment," EMT Janell Jimenez told the Boston Globe. "And then maneuvering through the marathon -- we thought that would be a challenge, but we were able to move right through the crowd."

The man's heart began to beat normally again soon after he was loaded in the ambulance and was listed in stable condition Monday night. But the outcome may have been different without the bystanders and EMS workers who came to his aid.

"We encourage everybody to know CPR, and the difference that was made today was that these bystanders were able to recognize that this patient was not breathing and didn't have a pulse, and their instinct was to give him CPR," she said. "That probably was one of the factors for this gentleman being alive today."