Three Saviors at the Phoenix Baggage Claim

Jones performed the chest compressions on Horbaczewski, while Dr. Dahle activated an automated external defibrillator to revive the man's heart.


They were just three strangers at the airport to Joseph Horbaczewski, at least at first.

But now the Surprise, Ariz., resident knows Scottsdale firefighter Sonia Jones, Dr. James Dahle and Phoenix police officer Kenneth Lapka as lifesavers.

Moments after Horbaczewski arrived in Phoenix after a business trip to Hawaii on May 10, he went into cardiac arrest and collapsed while waiting for his luggage at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Jones, 28 -- who is 7 1 /2 months pregnant with her first child, a boy -- performed the chest compressions on Horbaczewski, while Dahle, 30, activated an automated external defibrillator to revive the man's heart.

Jones, Dahle and Lapka, who breathed air into Horbaczewski's lungs, were honored Wednesday by the airport's Fire Station 19 with certificates of appreciation.

Horbaczewski, whose heart had stopped for about three minutes, regained consciousness and on Wednesday was recovering at St. Luke's Medical Center in Phoenix, his wife, Ruth, said.

"He's doing very well thanks to these people," said Ruth Horbaczewski, who works as an emergency room nurse at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea hospital.

"If you don't get to somebody within five minutes who isn't breathing, there's brain damage.

"My husband wanted to stress the importance of people knowing CPR and learning chest compressions.

"Timing is important."

She said her husband had five heart bypasses on Monday.

Dahle said he will complete medical school and residency at the University of Arizona on July 1.

He soon will begin working as an emergency doctor at the Langley Air Force Base hospital.

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