Heimlich manoeuvre waiter saves man choking on carvery at Ferry Inn, Horning

PUBLISHED: 09:39 29 October 2017 | UPDATED: 17:06 29 October 2017

Paul Rice said he was lucky to be alive after choking at a Broads pub. Picture: Andrew Stone

Paul Rice said he was lucky to be alive after choking at a Broads pub. Picture: Andrew Stone


A quick-thinking waiter leapt into action to save the life of a North Norfolk councillor who was choking on his food at a Broads pub.

The Ferry Inn Horning waiter Laszlo Szabo. Picture: Courtesy Laszlo SzaboThe Ferry Inn Horning waiter Laszlo Szabo. Picture: Courtesy Laszlo Szabo

Paul Rice was on the verge of blacking out after choking on food from the carvery at the Ferry Inn, Horning.

And he said if it were not for the actions of waiter Laszlo Szabo he could have died.

Mr Rice, who represents Waterside on North Norfolk District Council, said: “I had gone to the Ferry Inn for supper but was in a bit of a rush because I had training to go to and probably wasn’t chewing my food as well as I should have.

“The next thing food got lodged in my throat and I started choking. I couldn’t breathe and started to feel like I was going to black out.”

The Ferry Inn managing director Lyubo Dragoev. Picture: ANDREW STONEThe Ferry Inn managing director Lyubo Dragoev. Picture: ANDREW STONE

He said he managed to attract the attention of a waiter who immediately performed the Heimlich manoeuvre on him.

“Fortunately he managed to dislodge the food slightly, which allowed me to breathe erratically.

“I managed to calm myself down and tried to focus on my breathing. Someone called an ambulance, but when it did arrive it arrived on the wrong side of the river.”

Mr Rice said two first responders arrived on the scene and helped him with his breathing. “One suggested I drink a little coke as it causes a gagging effect and this helped by dislodging the food. I eventually got to casualty at 10.30pm and my throat was quite swollen, but thanks to Laszlo I was lucky to be alive.”

The Ferry Inn at Horning. Picture: SOPHIE WYLLIEThe Ferry Inn at Horning. Picture: SOPHIE WYLLIE

Mr Szabo said: “Paul is always calling me his hero but I am not a hero. I was just in the right place at the right time and am happy I could help.”

Lyubo Dragoev, the managing director of the Ferry Inn, said all the staff were given basic first aid and CPR training. He said it was a common problem that vehicles travelling from Norwich following GPS instructions ended up on the wrong side of the river.

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance service said: “Two community first responders were on scene within seven minutes and an ambulance was dispatched at 8.13pm. The ambulance attended at 9.01pm and took the patient to Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for further care. Part of the delayed attendance was due to the ambulance ending up in the wrong location initially and having to reroute to the correct location.”

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