“Her face was getting bluer, and her head flipped back, and I thought, ‘Oh my God, she’s unconscious’.”
Katherine Smith with members of the public and NSW Ambulance who helped save her life after a medical episode in July.
Balgowlah Heights man Peter Ingle, who was training on a race board nearby, rushed to help, providing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on the shore-line as paramedics were called.
Five people took it in turn to do CPR on Ms Smith before NSW Ambulance officers arrived, including Anthony ‘Chugga’ Vieceli and doctors Kate Schofield and Alistair Boyce, who were luckily nearby.
“There was foam coming from her mouth, and her eyes had rolled back,” Mr Ingle said. “We could not feel a breath or get a pulse.”
Katherine Smith (centre), of Kurraba Point, reunited on Tuesday, with Melissa Pye, of Neutral Bay, and Peter Ingle, of Balgowlah Heights.
Inspector Christian Holmes told Mosman Collective that Mrs Smith was revived while en route to Royal North Shore Hospital under police escort.
The mother of three grown children, Mrs Smith said her family is “counting our blessings” after the near-death experience.
“My poor husband and children were quite traumatised by the whole thing, and I am the least emotionally impacted because I was unconscious during the whole episode,” she said.
“We have always been a very close-knit family, but this has tightened our bond.”
Mrs Smith is part of Manly’s “Bold and Beautiful” early morning swim squad.
Mrs Smith said she had “no words” to express her gratitude at a special reunion on Manly Beach to thank her life-savers this week.
“No one gave up; that’s why I’m still here,” she said.
“I’m truly grateful to live in a country where so many resources were put into my care, with incredible skill, commitment and professionalism when the chances of my survival were almost zero.”
Mrs Smith said she looks forward to ocean swimming again once she returns to total health.