James Ainslie (with granddaughters Amelia and Lilly in 2011) suffered a heart attack during his morning walk along Noosa River on Thursday.
James Ainslie (with granddaughters Amelia and Lilly in 2011) suffered a heart attack during his morning walk along Noosa River on Thursday.

‘He would be dead’: Grandad saved by passers-by

Noosa artist Jamie Ainslie's Thursday morning started off the same as it did every day, with a walk along the Noosa River.

But his most recent stroll almost become his last.

Tragedy struck moments after Mr Ainslie, 71, greeted two dogs and their owners on Gympie Tce.

His heart suddenly failed and he collapsed on the ground, hitting his head on the footpath.

James Ainslie (with wife Wendy) is lucky to be alive after a heart attack on Noosa River.
James Ainslie (with wife Wendy) is lucky to be alive after a heart attack on Noosa River.

Several people immediately came to his aid to perform CPR while a woman rushed to retrieve a defibrillator conveniently located at the nearby Boat House restaurant.

Mr Ainslie's daughter Tori Aufderheide was happy on Friday to announce her father was alive and recovering well in Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

She said if it wasn't for the passers-by her dad would have surely died.

She said she "could not find the words" to say how thankful she was.

"Without them I wouldn't have my dad anymore and my mum would not have her husband," she said.

"I am just so thankful, he honestly would be dead."

Mr Ainsie's was the second life saved by the Boat House defibrillator.

His resuscitation came after a couple had read a Sunshine Coast Daily article in August 2018 and therefore knew where to find the machine.

Former ironman champion and founder of Heart180, Guy Leech, supplied the defibrillator to the Boat House back in 2018 with funding from Rotary Club of Noosa.

He said his defibrillators had been involved in saving two lives.

"It makes you feel really good," he said.

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The two-time Coolangatta Gold winner saw a close friend die on the beach from heart failure despite his best efforts to save him.

He said up to 100 Australians died every day from an electric issue with the heart.

"That's kids under 10, that's teenagers, that's fit adults - it doesn't discriminate," he said.

"Up to about 75 per cent would be living tomorrow if they had a defib within distance."

Mr Leech's goal was to have a defibrillator within 180 seconds of every Australian across the country.

As for Mr Ainslie, his daughter said he would be back out for his walks as soon as he received the all clear from doctors.

"There is no way he won't go walking in the mornings," she said.

"He walks twice a day, every day."


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