Rescued diver thanks saviors

"At about 6:10 p.m. on June 5, Suzanne Payseur died while scuba diving in the Langley Small Boat Harbor.By 6:16 p.m., she was alive again.On Wednesday, Payseur thanked three Langley citizens and a number of emergency medical and police professionals who helped restart her heart and breathe life back into her lungs. Meeting with her rescuers at Langley City Hall during a Langley City Council meeting, Payseur was thinking more about the life she has ahead of her than the diving accident that almost killed her three weeks ago.While diving with her husband Mike, Payseur got into trouble underwater. After signaling that she needed to surface, Payseur ascended rapidly from 40 feet down. By the time she made it into open air, she was incoherent and in respiratory distress. Mike Payseur swam pulling his wife more than 100 yards in full scuba gear to get her to the harbor's dock, where citizens Tim Nolis, Tom Permenter, and Dione Murray hauled her out of the water. Finding that she had no pulse and was not breathing, they began cardiopulmonary resuscitation and called for medical assistance. Emergency medical technicians Jason O'Neil, Andy O'Keefe and Irene Bullock and Langley Police officer Leif Haugen were on the scene within two minutes of the call. Long before paramedics made the scene Payseur was breathing and had a heartbeat again.This week, Payseur said she hardly knew how to thank her rescuers.I just can't say enough about how thankful I am that you were there, Payseur said. You truly are my heroes. Thank you. After getting those words out, Payseur began to cry. But she recovered quickly to hand out flowers and plants to her rescuers as a thank you. She also presented O'Keefe with a cash donation for Fire Protection District 3.Three of the rescuers received thanks beyond the flowers. Representing Fire District 3, Darrin Reid, captain of special services, awarded Nolis, Permenter, and Murray with one of the most prestigious awards given to good Samaritans -- the American Heart Award.Reid said Payseur's story might not have had such a happy ending had the three not been on the dock that night. Because they were, Reid said, Payseur's survival meant something special.We know it definitely was not Mrs. Payseur's time to go, Reid said.Reid recognized one additional rescuer who did not receive an award. Playing perhaps the most important part in the rescue was Mike Payseur, Suzanne's husband, who swam more than 100 yards with his wife in tow to get her to the help she needed.That swim was amazing in itself, Reid said.Mike Payseur said he has already received his thanks and his reward many times over.She said 'thank you' about a million times, he said.Mayor Furman also handed out citations of merit to all those involved in the rescue operation. He said Payseur's story is of the sort the media needs to write about or broadcast more often.That's a lesson we need to have publicity on, Furman said.Payseur is a Coupeville resident. Though fully recovered, she said she has not yet returned to the Langley Small Boat Harbor to dive, or even walk the dock where her life almost slipped away."

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