Life-saving kiss: All Blacks fan brought back from dead

Dean Herewini, far right, with his daughter Kea pictured with twin Phil and his daughter Saoirse....
Dean Herewini, far right, with his daughter Kea pictured with twin Phil and his daughter Saoirse. Photo: Supplied
A touring Irish fan has given the kiss of life to a Waikato rugby stalwart whose heart stopped beating as he parked his ute ahead of Saturday night's international clash at Eden Park.

Dean Herewini, 56, doesn't remember anything of the catastrophic moment he manoeuvred his vehicle into a space clipping one car and proceeding to smash into five others as he slumped unconscious over his steering wheel.

But his twin brother Phil says a quick-thinking Irish fan at a function in a nearby bar brought his brother back from the dead when the mystery woman administered CPR.

"We're very lucky that someone like that just jumped into it and did what she did.

"It could have ended up a little bit messy.

"You read about these things. You see them on TV but when you experience it first-hand it's incredible.

"We're so humble and grateful."

The woman who rushed to his aid, Sara Hartigan from Limerick, says she was only too happy to help and feels she was in the right place at the right time.

"It's the best feeling in the world," she said.

"I didn't know if I was doing it right but it worked out, thank God."

Herewini said his twin brother was still in Auckland City Hospital where doctors planned to stabilise his erratic heart rate with shock treatment.

Recounting the moments leading up to the drastic turn of events Herewini said he had already arrived in Kingsland and was waiting for his brother who was bringing his daughter and her friend to the match.

The Waikato rugby union development officer had turned into a carpark in Dominion Rd and looking for a space when he clipped a vehicle.

"The next minute he had put his right foot down onto the accelerator and was going into the next five cars."

With her father's chest pulsating and pumping strangely his daughter Kea, who travelled with him to the game, called Phil in a blind panic.

Meanwhile the commotion in the carpark drew the attention of revellers at a nearby pre-match function.

"This lady came out and came over and noticed he had stopped breathing.

"She started CPR while he was sitting in the car and he became conscious again."

Herewini says it was estimated his brother's heart had stopped for at least a minute.

Hartigan, who is leading a tour of Irish rugby fans around New Zealand, said everyone heard an enormous crash followed by a scream.

"I didn't know what was going on. His daughter was obviously very upset and crying and calling for help.

"It just happened so fast. People were calling an ambulance but no one was going in and helping Deano. It was just weird."

Falling back on her training as a lifeguard and arena manager the 42-year-old started giving him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in his car.

"We were trying to get the seat back. I couldn't tell you how long it took but the sweat was pouring off me.

"I was calling out, 'Can you hear me, come back to us' like you see in the movies.

"Then he took a massive big breath and just woke up."

Hartigan said he was asking what happened and telling her that he could only recall going blank.

She said the rest of the evening, which included going to the rugby at Eden Park as planned, was spent in a daze.

"I must admit I had a bit of a cry that evening."

In a strange twist of fate, she said she only learned she was coming to New Zealand a week ago after starting her dream job last month.

"The stars certainly aligned for us," said Hartigan.

Phil Herewini, who spent 40 minutes navigating match-day traffic to reach his stricken brother on the other side of Eden Park, said he only managed to briefly meet Hartigan on the day but wanted to properly thank her for intervening.

After posting a message on the Auckland Irish Club's Facebook page the pair made contact today.

"It was just so nice to talk to Phil and knowing that Deano's in a good place," said Hartigan from Queenstown.

She said they intended meeting before she left the country later in the month.

-By Lynley Ward




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