- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 17, 2014

DETROIT (AP) - A 94-year-old man paid a thank-you visit Wednesday to Henry Ford Hospital staffers who helped save his life when he had a heart attack aboard a plane heading for Detroit.

Sam Aliotta was on a Delta Air Lines flight from Denver on Sept. 6 when he began to shudder, then passed out.

Two cardiac rehabilitation workers from the Detroit hospital were returning from a conference and rushed into action, the Detroit Free Press (https://on.freep.com/1wEWCfG ) said.

Sheryl Sebastian, 51, and Matthew Saval, 42, used a portable on-board defibrillator and were able to get Aliotta’s heart pumping again.

Aliotta was flying with his son and daughter-in-law, Larry and Barbara Aliotta of Macomb County’s Harrison Township. The family was at the hospital Wednesday to thank the rescuers. Aliotta said his own memories of the events are a bit vague.

“I know I was on an airplane,” he said. “I saw people looking down on me, and I was wondering what … was going on. That’s all.”

Saval replied, “You were pretty disoriented at the time, but you woke up.”

One lesson that can be drawn from Aliotta’s experience is the value of everyone learning to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation, Saval and Sebastian said.

“This is what Matt and I are trained to do, but CPR is just so simple,” Sebastian said.

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Information from: Detroit Free Press, https://www.freep.com

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