Calgary·Video

Nurse and the man she saved reunite after 'incredible' roadside rescue near Calgary

In late August a nurse was driving home from a hike with her friend. They were just outside of Calgary near Springbank Road when she saw someone passed out in a ditch, with a bike nearby, wearing bright yellow spandex.

She came across a man unconscious in a ditch and didn't think he'd survive

Larissa Arthur and Mike Estepa were reunited in CBC Calgary's studio to tell their story. (Susan Holzman/CBC)

This story was originally published on Sept. 12.

When Larissa Arthur jumped out of her car to help a man she saw lying lifeless in a ditch just outside of Calgary, she drew from her training as a nurse to give the stranger chest compressions and CPR.

It was late August, and she was driving back from a hike with her friend. They were just outside of Calgary near Springbank Road when she she spotted the man passed out in a ditch, with a bike nearby, wearing bright yellow spandex.

"I just assumed he was hit by a car," she said.

"I just checked his pulse and checked for breathing, and there was neither."

When Larissa Arthur jumped out of her car to help a man she saw laying lifeless in a ditch just outside of Calgary, she drew from her training as a nurse to give the stranger chest compressions and CPR. 0:52

No sign of life

She quickly got to work and within two minutes another nurse and first responder also arrived to help. Then, 15 minutes later EMS arrived and shocked the man twice, attempting to revive him.

But with no sign of life, as the man was taken by emergency crews to a hospital, Arthur said she didn't think the man was going to make it.

Then out of the blue, she reconnected with the man through a social media message.

"The second I saw him and he saw me we just started crying," Arthur said.

"It was a weird, weird feeling to actually see him because the last time I saw him he was just lifeless with ants crawling all over him … all of the sudden he was smiling and hugging me and crying and telling jokes."

Larissa Arthur, left, stands with Mike Estepa and Rhonda Wilson. After Estepa was taken to hospital, Wilson brought him his bike and reconnected him with Arthur who was the first to perform life-saving CPR on him. (Courtesy/Larissa Arthur)

For Mike Estepa what happened wasn't as clear. The last thing he remembers is texting his family that he'd be home from his 60-kilometre bike trip in 30 minutes. But the next thing he remembers was waking up two days later.

"I was on my way back to Springbank, to my brother's house," he said.

"I was eating my power bar, took a photo and texted my family … that's the last time I remember anything."

His wife told him he went into cardiac arrest — which baffled him. He's a very active guy.

"There are days I still wake up at 2 a.m., I just lie in bed and think," he said. "Without Larissa, I wouldn't be here talking."

Arthur was out on hike number 51 of 100 hikes she's doing in honour of her father, who died on a scramble in July 2017. And for her, it meant a lot to save someone in need.

"It meant more to me because I couldn't save my dad's life," Arthur said.

"But it was the first time I felt I actually helped save someone's life."

She said it was very lucky the people she was with also had medical training — she didn't save Estepa alone. But she also said this is the first time in her years of nursing work she's performed CPR on someone.

"And to have them revived to the point where they're talking and laughing — it's just pretty incredible," she said.


With files from Josie Lukey, The Homestretch and CBC News Calgary at 6.