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Bystanders became lifesavers at MSP Airport by saving a man suffering cardiac arrest

3 MSP airport bystanders honored for jumping in to help man in cardiac arrest
3 MSP airport bystanders honored for jumping in to help man in cardiac arrest 01:55

MINNEAPOLIS — On Thursday morning, three Minnesotans were recognized for their brave actions to help save a man's life when he went into a cardiac arrest.

Mark and Kirsten Kortesma from Duluth and Dr. Kyle Menzel from Hermantown all received "Heart Saving Hero" awards from the Twin Cities chapters of the American Heart Association. It was all because of their actions seven months prior.


On July 28, 2023, 57-year-old Jay May, of Zimmerman, landed at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport after a fishing trip in Anchorage, Alaska around 9:30 p.m. While May was waiting for his luggage at the baggage claim carousel, he said "everything went dark" and he collapsed.

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"Someone grabbed the AED and we used that right away and then within a few minutes the emergency personnel were here on the scene and they took over," said Menzel. 

May went to the hospital with a pulse and had a quick recovery, an outcome that is rarely promised in circumstances like this one.

"I consider myself to be one of the luckiest people on earth," said May.

MSP Airport is set up with more than 150 AED defibrillators located around the building and on planes.

The use of a defibrillator can double or triple a person's survival chances in a cardiac event.

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"We as bystanders did what we could, but it's the system that they have set up here is what saved him," said Menzel. "I'd encourage everyone to learn CPR to step in and do whatever you can."

Thanks to these three heroes, May, a husband and father of five, has a second chance in life and a fresh perspective.

"The small things mean everything now," said May. 

To make sure you're prepared to help when needed, you can sign up for CPR/AED training now.

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