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TSA Officer Heralded as Hero after Saving Passenger Suffering from Cardiac Arrest

3 min read

Transportation Security Admission officer Jonas Cohen reported for duty on Thursday, September 24, 2015, thinking that it will just be another day at work.  But, he became a hero not just for a day – but an inspiration for every TSA officer to respond beyond the call of duty.


Cohen received praises and applause from colleagues when he returned to his post after reviving a passenger who fainted after suffering a cardiac arrest at a restaurant right inside the Baltimore Washington International-Thurgood Marshall Airport.

Supervisory TSA Officer Jonas Cohen was doing his routine rounds when he was approached by an airport restaurant staff that saw his blue uniform at the checkpoint. Cohen was then informed that a man suffered from cardiac arrest and needed immediate medical assistance. Cohen rushed to the restaurant and saw a man heavily slumped right over a piece of metal fencing which surrounds the restaurant. Luckily, Cohen used to be a member of the U.S. Coast Guard and have trained as emergency medical technician. He helped position the man on the floor. The man seems to have difficulty breathing and was gasping for air; his lips also started to appear bluish.

Cohen rushed to get an AED. A Maryland Transportation Authority police officer also brought another AED. Cohen was now working hand in hand with a passenger who happens to be an off-duty fire fighter and another passenger who is a doctor by profession.

He began to perform chest compressions and applied shocks, he was able to revive the victim and a pulse was detected right away.

Officials from the fire department arrived and continued with the victim’s care. The ambulance crew came and took the victim to a nearby hospital. Other TSA officers worked together with MTAP in implementing crowd control.

“He had a heart rate on his way into the ambulance,” Cohen said. He went to console the wife of the victim. I told her that her husband is safe now and receiving good care. A few days later after incident, airport police told Cohen that the victim was able to make it although he was still in intensive care.

Cohen was also informed that the traveller was able to recover and was healthy enough to go home the week after.

In his 13 years as TSA officer, that fateful incident is said to be the second time that Cohen has used his emergency technician’s skills to revive someone at the airport. He was also able to save another passenger’s life at the Fort Lauderdale International Airport in 2005 wherein Cohen performed CPR.

“When something like that happens right there in front of you, you resort back to your training and automatically know what to do” Cohen admitted.

Cohen recalled that everything led to that rescue when a passenger approached him about the incident. “She was probably looking for a uniformed individual and she knew she could find a TSA officer at the checkpoint,” Cohen said.

“People can say what they want about TSA officers, but we know that when something happens, the public looks to us to come help, and that’s what we do. That’s what I did.” Cohen stated.

TSA Federal Security Director Andrea R. Mishoe is proud of Cohen and said “Officer Cohen’s quick actions were heroic and we are fortunate to have him on our team. There is no doubt that his quick response improved the traveler’s probability of surviving.”

TSA Officer Jonas Cohen did what he had to do at the most crucial times to be able to save the life of a passenger. It’s his job to ensure the safety and security of passengers. It was definitely an advantage that he had training as emergency medical technician because he can use the skills to save people’s lives while on the job. He responded with an alert mind and body in a speedy and organized manner that helped to keep the victim alive at the most crucial hours of his life where every millisecond counts to his survival.

For more information on this story, check out this news article.

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