Group effort to save a man’s life

Member News image Michael Mai reuniting with those who saved him


Emergency services personnel have been reunited with the man whose life they saved earlier this year.


Avid bushwalker Michael Mai was walking when he collapsed after suffering a cardiac arrest in Buninyong Reserve in January 2023. 

Paramedics managed to get to Michael but needed support to get him out of the reserve and into an ambulance. They contacted VICSES, CFA, Fire Rescue Victoria and Victoria Police. 

Buninyong-Mt Helen Fire Brigade Captain Gareth Smith was one of those called on. He said it was difficult to rescue Michael given the rough terrain and inaccessible nature of the area. 

Up to 20 emergency services personnel walked him out for an hour, with Ambulance Victoria giving him medical treatment the whole time. 

Gareth was thrilled to learn Michael wanted to reunite with those who helped him. 

“It wasn’t the outcome we expected. When we found out he wanted to meet us and thank us we were amazed. We were also happy to hear he’s doing so well,” he said. 

Gareth said the situation highlighted the importance of a multi-agency rescue, using the different skill sets from each agency for the best possible outcome.  

Michael has since made a full recovery and is grateful for the first responders who saved his life. 

“There were a lot of people involved, and I was grateful to see them to say thanks face-to-face,” Michael said. 


Submitted by CFA Media