Copiague man meets lifeguards who saved him
A Copiague man got the chance today to thank the lifeguards who helped save his life over the summer.
Chris LaPak, 52, was participating in the New York City Triathalon back in August. He was 300 meters into his Hudson River swim when he suddenly went into cardiac arrest.
Five lifeguards from Jones Beach who were working the event sprang into action. One of them, Dan Perlmutter, plucked LaPak out of the water, put him on a surfboard and signaled to his fellow lifeguards for help.
Perlmutter and the others, Matt Sallusto, Cary Epstein, DJ Paulson and Joe Salonia, were able to get LaPak to an FDNY boat, where emergency responders started CPR.
Firefighters say LaPak was without a pulse for 11 minutes and was technically dead.
He was rushed Mt. Sinai St. Lukes Hospital, where he received a treatment called therapeutic hypothermia, where the body temperature is intentionally lowered to prevent brain and heart damage.
Doctors say the treatment worked, and thanks to the swift actions of all involved, LaPak is alive and well today.
"It was like angels on earth who saved me," LaPak said. "There's no doubt about it. It just wasn't my time."
LaPak says he's been given the gift of a renewed sense of life, and he owes it all to those who came to his rescue.
"It's amazing how he made it through everything," says lifeguard Joe Salonia. "It makes you feel good."
LaPak says he now has a clean bill of health, and is already back to running and swimming.