Cornwall Amazon delivery driver 'dead for 27 minutes' after heart attack behind the wheel

  • Watch: Chris Barendt meets the people who saved his life

A delivery driver from Cornwall who suffered a heart attack at the wheel says he would not be alive today if it had not been for quick-thinking passers-by giving him urgent medical care.

Chris Barendt, aged 63, was technically dead for 27 minutes after going into cardiac arrest on his rounds in Portreath back in March.

A pair of RNLI lifeguards who were passing by smashed the window of Chris' van, dragged him out and began giving him CPR.

Ambulance crews soon arrived and Chris was shocked seven times with a defibrillator. After almost half an hour of being clinically dead, his pulse re-started.

Chris says he is 'immensely grateful' to be alive.

Having made a remarkable recovery, Chris has now been to Cornwall Air Ambulance headquarters in Newquay to thank the people who saved his life.

Chris said: "Every day is an extra day to me.

"Had this not happened, had these people not been there to help with their skills and talents, I wouldn't be here today. So I am immensely grateful."

The chance of surviving a heart attack outside of hospital is less than one in 10 - so ambulance crews say Chris can count himself a very lucky man.

Paramedic Thomas Hennessy Jones says Chris was very lucky. Credit: ITV News

Cornwall Air Ambulance paramedic Thomas Hennessy Jones told ITV News: "Chris was in cardiac arrest we believe for about 27 minutes.

"It's only through the efforts of members of the public and the lifeguards who managed to keep his brain and his heart oxygenated long enough that once a defibrillator went on, we were able to resuscitate him successfully."