'Hero' waiter praised for saving life of choking customer in Bangor

A restaurant waiter in North Wales has been hailed a 'hero' after saving a customer from choking on his food.

Sheakh Rifat - known as Rifat - who works in the Bangor Tandoori restaurant in Bangor, noticed that a young man dining with a group of friends was struggling, and immediately ran over to assist him.

CCTV footage from inside the restaurant shows Rifat grabbing the choking customer's hand and pulling him away from the table.

The group had travelled to north Wales from the south-west of England.

He begins to perform a lifesaving technique, known as the Heimlich manoeuvre, in the middle of the restaurant as the man's friends and other diners watch on.

Just 30 seconds after the waiter rushes to his aid, footage shows the man finally able to breathe again.

Everybody claps as the customer - named as Jake Snelling - can be seen taking big gulps of air and bending over his chair.

Once he has recovered, he pats Rifat on the shoulder and can be seen mouthing "thank you".

The Heimlich manoeuvre is a series of abdominal thrusts used to help people whose airways are obstructed.

It is named after American doctor Henry Heimlich, who is often credited for the technique.

Speaking to ITV News, Rifat recalled the moment he saw the customer in trouble.

"I noticed that something was wrong - his face went red and there were tears coming out from his eyes. I took two or three seconds to realise what was happening," he said.

"When I saw him suffering and he couldn't breathe at all, only one thing came into my mind - that I had to help him, at any cost.

"So without further ado, I just pulled him from the chair and brought him in the passageway. I grabbed him from the back, on his stomach, and shook him.

"The food came out from his throat."

Rifat said he remembered the technique after his father had performed it on him as a child when he was choking.

Rifat said that seeing the customer breathe again was the happiest moment of his life.

"I never expected this. Honestly, it was a great feeling - the best moment of my life," he said.

"Not because everyone was appreciating me, applauding me - it's because when I saw his face, he could breathe and he was smiling.

"That gave me the spark inside my heart."

Rifat said Mr Snelling had hugged him when he left the restaurant and the two exchanged numbers, promising to get in touch next time they are in the same area.