Stephen Dunlop and his wife Marion seen shortly before he collapsed

Stephen Dunlop and his wife Marion seen shortly before he collapsed

A walker has told of how he was airlifted from a Lake District fell after suffering what he thought was a bout of indigestion.

Stephen Dunlop was actually suffering a heart attack on the summit of Cat Bells and was saved by the action of rescuers and air ambulance staff.

The 65-year-old from North Shields in Tyne and Wear was enjoying a walk up the Lakeland fell with his wife Marion Dunlop in May last year when he began to feel unwell, with sharp stabbing chest pains.

He said: “I got to the top of the fell with my wife and I was taking photos when I started to feel unwell. It started with the pains, but I just passed it off as indigestion.”

Mrs Dunlop decided to ring for help but was unable to obtain a mobile phone signal and began to panic. Other walkers on the hill went to her aid.

She said: “I screamed ‘my husband is having chest pains. Does anyone have any signal?’ and a man who was with his family shouted ‘I do’ and rang for help.

“It wasn’t long until mountain rescue arrived, and they set off the flare to let the Great North Air Ambulance Service know where we were.”

As the seconds turned into minutes, Mr Dunlop could feel himself deteriorating fast. He said: “I started to be sick and then everything was a blur.

“When GNAAS arrived, I was in a bad way and I was panicking but they managed to make me feel at ease straight away.

“I just remember them saying to me ‘it will only be 10 minutes’ which really reassured me and then before I knew it, I was at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle.”

Mr Dunlop found out in hospital that he had had a heart attack and underwent surgery to unblock an artery. But his ordeal wasn’t over and he then caught pneumonia and had to return to hospital.

The crews’ exploits are being broadcast on the More4 series Emergency Helicopter Medics. Mr Dunlop said: “I didn’t think I would ever be using you.”

He added: “I am still not 100 per cent but I am getting there. They told me at hospital I am a very lucky man and that’s exactly how I feel.

“GNAAS is a brilliant charity and without them I would not be here.”

The Great North Air Ambulance, which operates across the North of England, including the Lake District and Pennines, is raising money to become a 24-hour service. Details are on the charity’s website.

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