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Man Starts Choking on Lamb Chop, Firefighter at Next Table Sees Face Turning Red

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Life or death situations always seem to occur when we least expect them. We drive in our cars, we stand on cliffs admiring views, or we’re happily eating at a restaurant thinking we have all the time in the world left on Earth.

On the fateful evening of Friday, Feb. 9 at Da Noi, a family owned and operated Italian restaurant in on Staten Island, Juan Camacho had a very close brush with death. In fact, he reported, “I saw my life flash, in a second.”

Camacho was having lamb chops with his wife for dinner. He’d just had a tooth extracted, so he couldn’t chew very well on one side.

Camacho said, “And what starts to happen? I start choking.” His wife attempted to perform the Heimlich maneuver, but she wasn’t strong enough to stop the choking.



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His arms stiffened as he grabbed the edge of the table, still trying to swallow the meat and unable to breathe. Camacho retold what happened, “Out of nowhere, I feel arms reach around me. And, save my life.”

Stephen Cresci, an off-duty fireman, and his pregnant wife were eating one table away from the Camachos.

Cresci described what happened right before he intervened: “He couldn’t talk at all. His face was turning red, so I got right behind him.”

Cresci successfully performed the Heimlich maneuver and immediately Camacho could breath again.

Following the incident, Cresci returned to the table to finish his meal with his wife. Camacho picked up their check as a thanks.

But in all the hubbub, Camacho soon realized he did not know the name of the man who saved him.

It was Inside Edition who reunited the two men, and asked them to create a video outlining what happened to inform the public of the proper way to perform the Heimlich maneuver.

During the reunion it came out that when Cresci saved Camacho’s life, it was the first time he had ever attempted doing the Heimlich maneuver. Talk about good instincts and quick thinking!



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Cresci’s wife, Jennifer, described watching the scene: “As I’m watching him I started to cry. I didn’t know what was going on with the man and I was like, ‘Oh my God! I hope he can do this.'”

Cresci told Inside Edition reporters that he and his wife had actually planned to eat at another restaurant that evening, but decided to stay local because of her impending due date.

Camacho must be very grateful for Cresci saving his life, but also to their baby causing them to eat at that particular restaurant!

Life or death moments occur more often then you would think. It’s great to see one of New York’s Bravest saving a life, even on his day off.

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A proud reference librarian at San Diego Law Library, Havilah is a recent graduate from iSchool at San Jose State University with her master's in library and information science.
A proud reference librarian at San Diego Law Library, Havilah is a recent graduate from iSchool at San Jose State University with her master's in library and information science. She is passionate about writing and education, and most recently created content for the iStudent blog at SJSU. She is also on the board at SANDALL, a chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries, currently serving as secretary.




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