Dagenham schoolboy saves choking classmate’s life

Lifesaver Ryan (centre left) shakes hands with classmate Harry, with friends Dressman and Prince. Pi

Lifesaver Ryan (centre left) shakes hands with classmate Harry, with friends Dressman and Prince. Picture: All Saints Catholic School - Credit: All Saints Catholic School

Quick-thinking classmates saved the life of their 12-year-old friend on Wednesday after he began choking on a cough drop.

Harry Maxwell and his fellow All Saints Catholic School pupils — Dressman Adamawa and Prince Tchamgoue, both 12 — were walking to maths class when he reached for a throat lozenge.

Popping one in his mouth, he began coughing and gasping as he fought for air.

“I couldn’t breathe; my airways were blocked,” the Year 8 pupil told the Post, adding: “I just felt really scared because I didn’t know what was going on.”

He spent a nervous 30 seconds struggling for breath, catching the attention of Dressman and Prince.

“He was kind of bent over to the side, really coughing and stuff,” said Prince.

“Me and Dressman, we thought it was a joke.”

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Dressman agreed it took him by surprise.

“At first I didn’t think he was choking,” he said.

“Then I went closer, and he started making noises.

“I wasn’t worried as I didn’t think it was that serious. But, after, it got worse. I got scared.”

By this time, Prince said, Harry’s eyes were watering and red.

The pair ran to their friend Ryan Moore, an air cadet with first aid training.

Dropping his bag and coat, Ryan, 13, rushed to Harry’s aid, jolting him twice using the Heimlich manoeuvre and slapping him on the back.

It worked: the sweet was dislodged, sailing “half way across the playground,” according to Harry.

“It went flying out,” said Ryan, who admitted he hardly had time to think before his training kicked in.

“As soon as they told me he was choking, I switched on,” he said, clicking his fingers for emphasis.

“But I didn’t really know it was that deep until I went into maths and he [Harry] told me: ‘Oh, you’ve saved my life’.”

Clare Cantle, headteacher at the Wood Lane, Dagenham school, praised the trio’s actions.

“We are so proud of the maturity and calmness these boys showed under pressure,” she said.

“Well done Ryan.”

And does Harry still suck cough drops?

“I still take them,” he laughed.

“But I’m a lot more careful.”