D-M pararescuemen and DPS officers meet man whose life they save - Tucson News Now

D-M pararescuemen and DPS officers meet man whose life they saved

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A reunion for a group of heroes and the man they saved.

He had a heart attack a few weeks ago during the air show at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

Thursday he got to say thank you in person.

It was an extraordinary moment.

What led to this reunion actually happened last month during Davis-Monthan's Thunder and Lightning Over Arizona Open House.

With all the aerobatics and displays that day there was plenty of drama up in the air.

However, one of the most dramatic and emotional events at this year's air show happened on the ground.

"About the only thing I can remember is driving up here and finding myself in a hospital five days later," said Tucsonan Russell Korne.

Korne had arrived at the April 12th show with his wife when he suddenly collapsed just steps away from the 48th Rescue Squadron display.

Pararescuemen, called PJs, and nearby Department of Public Safety officers jumped into action.

The men were reunited on base Thursday.

They surrounded Korne as he spoke to them.

"It's hard for me to express just the gratitude I have for you guys and the job you do. Thank you," Korne told them.

"Like the surgeon said this morning, if they hadn't of been there, I wouldn't be here," Korne told us. "He said if it would have taken any more than five minutes, it was done. So he said it was extremely fortunate that it happened where it did and that they were here."

On that day, the PJs were greeting and talking with air show visitors.

"We were just working a static display at the air show and we just heard some woman scream and saw a man just fall to the ground," said 48th Rescue Squadron member, Pablo.

We've been asked not to show or use the PJs full names for security reasons.

PJs are paramedics who are highly trained for water, land and combat rescues.

They've seen a lot.

Korne had stopped breathing.

He had no pulse.

The PJs brought out almost every tool they had.

"I was a bit nervous, to be honest with you. I've seen a lot of people have heart attacks like that and I've never seen anyone come back. So I wasn't too--didn't have too high of hopes," said 48th Rescue Squadron member Dan.

But they did it.

They brought Korne back.

Now Korne, a former airman, was back to say thank you.

"We save a lot of lives deployed, and everything, but we don't hardly get the opportunity to meet our patients later on," Dan said.

"It's good to see a story come full circle around and see a patient that's actually living and he's doing fine," Pablo said.

"To these guys who are responsible for being where they were and doing what they did and assisting my wife in her moment of panic, means a great deal to me," said Korne.

This is how Dan puts it. "Just sheer luck that we're standing right there and saw everything happen and had the appropriate equipment. It was a miracle."

Russell Korne served in Vietnam.

He says he knows what it feels like to be thanked for saving someone's life, and that's another reason he had to go back to Davis-Monthan to meet these men.

He wanted to shake their hands.

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