2013-05-01 / Front Page

Metuchen TSA agent delivers life-saving help to airline passenger


METUCHEN — Saving a life was all in a day’s work for Bob Kennish. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent acted quickly at Newark Liberty International Airport on April 24 to provide help that meant the difference between life and death for an elderly woman.

“I’m glad I was there to assist,” the Metuchen resident said.

He was conducting routine inspections when he noticed that something wasn’t right.

“I looked over, and there was an elderly female [lying] there,” he said.

Kennish rushed to the aid of the collapsed woman and quickly realized that she wasn’t breathing. She didn’t have a pulse either, he said.

A nurse who had been a fellow passenger with the woman on the Virgin America flight also checked her pulse and came up empty.

“I went right into conducting CPR,” Kennish said.

He learned the emergency procedure during his 10 years as an officer with the Federal Air Marshal Service, from which he recently retired. He has performed CPR twice before.

“This is the first time that actually someone survived,” he said. “I was a little nervous, because she was … lifeless. I just kept continuing to focus on what we needed to do.”

Flight attendants retrieved an automated external defibrillator from the plane, and an ophthalmologist who was on the flight used it to revive the woman.

“It was very exhilarating to see her have a pulse,” Kennish said.

Emergency medical services arrived within seven to eight minutes — a span that likely felt much longer to the woman’s husband, who was standing nearby, according to Kennish. The man barely spoke during the crisis, but thanked Kennish for his efforts afterward.

“I think her husband was in total shock,” Kennish said.

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