Members of the Saanich Fire Department along with BC Ambulance Crews responded to Mount Douglas Park Saturday morning after a man in his early 30s had collapsed while hiking. His long-time friends and roommates, a pair of brothers, performed various life-saving techniques prior to the arrival of crews. (Photo courtesy of Darrell Wick)

Members of the Saanich Fire Department along with BC Ambulance Crews responded to Mount Douglas Park Saturday morning after a man in his early 30s had collapsed while hiking. His long-time friends and roommates, a pair of brothers, performed various life-saving techniques prior to the arrival of crews. (Photo courtesy of Darrell Wick)

Saanich brothers save friend who collapsed hiking near Victoria

Rescued man is said to be recovering in hospital after collapsing

A pair of brothers helped to save one of their closest friends while hiking in Mount Douglas Park.

Paul Kowalyk said his adult sons (both in their early 30s) and their respective girlfriends were hiking together early Saturday morning when their friend and roommate in his early 30s collapsed after the group had reached the top.

Kowalyk’s sons call 9-11 for assistance, but also use their paramedical training to help their friend. One of Kowalyk’s sons is a firefighter with the Victoria Fire Department, while the other has also completed CPR training.

RELATED: UPDATE: Incident near Mount Douglas Park ‘strictly medical,’ Saanich police say

Saanich Fire Department and BC Ambulance Service responded to the scene, with the friend receiving defibrillator treatment at one stage. Crews credited Kowalyk’s sons for preventing far worse.

“The ambulance guys said, ‘if you guys were not there, he would have been dead,’” said Kowalyk. “He would have been dead.”

The friend is recovering at a local hospital, said Kowalyk, who described him as “feeling better” following the incident. While the cause of the friend’s collapse remains under investigation, Kowalyk said his sons’ friend has had a history of heart problems, having had open-heart surgery in his early 20s.

Physicians treating the friend are currently reviewing his history, said Kowalyk.

“Bottom-line is, if they weren’t there, he wouldn’t be around today.”

Notably, all three played (albeit not together) lacrosse for the Victoria Shamrocks. “They are well-built kids and they are strong.”


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