Casino man hailed a hero
By ZOE SATHERLEY
AS CASINO man Peter Beeby worked on the lifeless body of a 15-year-old girl who had a heart attack at Tweeds Heads on Saturday, he was certain of only one thing.
He was not going to stop doing CPR until she breathed.
For 15 minutes he steadily blew air into the stranger's lungs, working side-by-side with a mystery man doing the heart compressions, before the ambulance crew arrived.
Mr Beeby and Phil Arnott, of Fingal, worked like a well rehearsed team, although the two men had never set eyes on each other before.
The life they were fighting so hard to save was that of Ipswich teenager Krystel-Lee Hassett.
Unbeknown to them, Krystel-Lee had been born with a heart defect.
On Saturday, while on a family outing to Tweed Heads, with mum and dad, Tina and Paul Hassett, sister Amanda, 14, and brother Joshua, 12, she suddenly collapsed in the family's car just as they were about to leave the Point Danger car park.
"We'd all been laughing and having such fun. We'd just had some ice-creams," still shocked mum Tina said yesterday from the Prince Charles Hospital, Brisbane, where her daughter is still in intensive care.
"I turned around to tell Krystel-Lee to close the car door and saw she was all blue.
"I raced around to try and get her out of the car. I've had CPR training myself, but when it's your child...I just froze.
"Then I started screaming for help. As my husband was coming around the car to assist, this stranger walked up and just took control.
"We carried Krystel-Lee onto the grass and he started giving her mouth-to-mouth.
"Then another man came and joined him. She didn't have a pulse for a long time.
"I've been doubting the existence of God lately because of the terrible state of the world but I can tell you, God was there in bringing these two angels to save my daughter's life."
Peter Beeby yesterday was keen to down-play his role.
"I'm just an ordinary bloke," said this bashful part-time cement truck driver and volunteer firefighter with Casino rural fire service.
"I've got four beautiful boys of my own, aged from 12 to 20, who I deeply love and I'd like to think someone would try and save them if they were in trouble.
"But you don't think about it. You just jump in and do it. Instinct takes over.
"There is an incredible adrenaline rush while you are working and then when it's all over, the exhaustion and the emotion hits you.
"I feel a real connection now with this young girl and her family.
"I'm sure we'll be friends for life."
Peter had been waiting to meet a friend when the incident happened.
On his way to Tweed Heads he had earlier spotted and reported a bushfire at Brunswick Heads, and later raised the alarm when he saw a swimmer caught in a dangerous rip at Duranbah Beach, Tweed Heads.
Tina Hassett said her daughter had briefly regained consciousness and squeezed her hand before being placed in a medically-induced coma.
Doctors were last night considering taking her into surgery to install a pacemaker in her heart, her mother said.
"We are just believing and praying she will make a full recovery and be home with us for Christmas," she said.
"If it wasn't for Peter and Phil, she would certainly not have made it.
"We are all just so grateful to them. They are true heros."