Man reunited with fellow passengers who saved his life on Spirit Airlines flight

DETROIT -- It's a moment that warms Jerry Drouillard's heart -- a chance to say thank you to the strangers who kept that very same heart beating.

Just eight weeks ago, Drouillard boarded his Spirit Airlines flight from Detroit to Orlando after finishing his final round of radiation treatment for prostate cancer.

"I said, 'Oh great, I made the flight, I'll take a nap.' And it was almost permanent," he said.

While waiting for the flight to depart, he suffered a massive heart attack. Jeff Kruger had just finished his CPR class three weeks earlier. So he and flight attendant Ches Harrison were the first to come to Jerry's aide.

"There was no pulse," Harrison said.

Nurse Sue Niehaus was sitting a couple rows away, so was Katie Yombik, who just happens to be a cardiac care nurse.

"This guy was on his way out," Niehaus said. "You can tell, and so he got the oxygen on him. I think Katie started the CPR and it was a little exciting. So I had to -- I started singing 'Staying Alive' because they tell you when you do CPR, you sing 'Staying Alive.'"

Still not responsive, and with paramedics en route, they called for the plane's defibrillator.

"He didn't really wake up wake up but he had a pulse," Niehaus said.

Medics raced Jerry to the hospital for a quintuple bypass. He says he doesn't remember what happened on the plane.

"This was a real miracle that the people were there. Everything fell into place," Drouillard said. "I am so happy. Glory to God for this. Here I am."

  • Kris Van Cleave

    Kris Van Cleave was appointed CBS News Transportation Correspondent in September 2015 and is based in Washington, D.C.