Their job is to inspect planes, but on Wednesday afternoon, three U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers dropped their normal duties to help save an infant’s life.
The three were inspecting a plane that was headed to Montego, Jamaica, at BWI Marshall Airport at around 12:30 p.m. when a pilot told them a child on board had stopped breathing.
“We just took off running down the jetway,” said CBP Officer Spencer Warner.
When Warner got to the plane’s door, a flight attendant handed him the child’s limp body. The three quickly checked for breathing or signs of a pulse, but found neither. Using his training in life-saving measures, Warner said he immediately began to do CPR on the baby.
“After about the 10th chest compression, we were able to hear a gasp of air,” Warner said.
Warner said he soon realized the child was having a seizure. Fortunately for them, at that moment, a pediatric nurse who happened to be in the airport at the time was being rushed over by a gate agent.
“She put the baby on the ground, she believed he was having a seizure so she put him in a recovery position,” Warner said.
A short time after that, medics arrived and the child was taken to the hospital. The child is expected to make a full recovery, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Warner, a father to a 2-year-old girl, said it was a scary situation, but he was relieved in the end that he saw the child begin to recover.
“It was a very huge relief, this big smile came to my face,” he said.
He also said being able to tell the child’s mother — who he said was understandably distraught at the time — that her child was going to be OK was an amazing feeling.
He said all three officers were also thankful for the pediatric nurse who stepped up to help.
“When the gate agent brought that nurse down, it kind of helped relax us a little bit because we knew there was someone a little more medically trained who could help us,” he said.
Warner said this was an example of why the additional medical training officers receive should never be taken lightly.
“You hope you never have to use this training, but it’s there,” he said.
Warner said even though the woman was visiting from Jamaica, he’s hopeful that down the road sometime, all those who helped get a chance to reunite with the mother and her son.