AN off-duty lifeguard who dived from a Magaluf ‘booze cruise’ to save a drowning British dad believes the victim could have lived if the boat had a defibrillator.
Brave Thomas Knight, 23, has slammed the company and crew of the Britannia Jet, insisting they were ‘totally unprepared’ for the emergency.
Knight, from Northern Ireland, leapt into the sea to help when he saw Etienne Hampton, 29, struggling in the water.
The father-of-one, from Jersey, died when he joined several revellers who jumped off the back of the party boat, where punters enjoyed bottomless drinks.
While dragged back onto the €55-a-head pleasure vessel, which had over 200 on board, he died after being taken back to shore.
Knight, a lifeguard attendant with seven years experience, and three other passengers, struggled to get Hampton back on the boat before spending half an hour giving CPR.
“The crew weren’t prepared and the boat was so badly equipped. If there had been a defibrillator on board he would have had a chance,” he told the Olive Press.
“There was no emergency action plan.
“By the time I got to the guy in the water he was foaming through the nose so I gave him five rescue breaths through his nostrils.”
He continued: “They threw a ring to him but the rope snapped and there was practically no way to get this guy on board. We needed a harness.
“We were essentially pulling a lifeless body up two ladders. By the time we got him on the boat six or seven minutes must have passed.”
It was only once on the boat that Knight realised he was the only person onboard with any medical knowledge.
“I started CPR and screamed for a defibrillator. But nobody was responding. Nobody gave us anything,” he continued.
“Any beach lifeguard should have a pocket mask for CPR which is like a filter to stop you taking in stomach acid. They didn’t even have that!”
He added: “The captain didn’t have a clue. At times he was trying to turn the guy’s head to the side which is nonsense, I have never been taught that in my life.”
He claims the captain lost ten precious minutes before moving the boat towards land once Hampton was on board.
Hampton was treated onshore by paramedics, but died two days later.
“The original news story in the UK press said there were two lifeguards on board who did nothing. There weren’t two lifeguards. There were two guys pulling pints.
“I see lots of lifeguards in every pool and beach in Magaluf – so why not on a party boat where 250 people are drinking? It doesn’t make sense” he added.
“Over 200 young drunk people on a boat and letting them jump off in any direction off the back… I don’t know how they have got away with that for so long.”
Knight is also angry that police failed to take statements from him at the scene and that he has seen the Britannia Jet out at sea since.
The Guardia Civil have not yet responded to Olive Press enquiries. A police inquiry is ongoing.
Hampton, who was cremated in Mallorca, died of a heart attack.
A report from Spain’s Ministry of Health recommends defibrillators are placed ‘in all establishments where large concentrations of people circulate…like planes, trains and boats’.
But Captain Ed Geary, a yacht survey expert, told the Olive Press there was currently ‘no requirement for small passenger vessels that carry 12 or more passengers to carry a defibrillator’.
“I always recommend that any commercial yacht has a defibrillator on board,” he said.
“Equally important is for officers and crew to have regular and frequent training with man-overboard drills and first-aid training.”
He also said a vessel was ‘legally required’ to store a harness to pull people from the water.
However, a spokesperson from Palma’s Capitania Maritima told the Olive Press this was not a legal requirement for a boat of this type.
Promoters Magaluf Events did not respond to Olive Press enquiries.