The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), the UK’s drowning prevention charity, has awarded a newly qualified RLSS UK Pool Lifeguard Trainer Assessor after saving the life of a middle-aged local Russian man whilst on holiday in Russia last month (May).

Eleftherios Samourgkanidis, RLSS UK Pool Lifeguard and Pool Lifeguard Trainer Assessor at Alleyn’s School in Dulwich, London, was asleep whilst travelling by the overnight train from Minvodi to Rostov on Don, Russia when a passenger in the cabin above him started to have a seizure and stopped breathing.

Eleftherios said: “I woke up to the passenger upstairs crying out at around three o’clock in the morning. I jumped out of bed and went upstairs to find the passenger lay on the floor, surrounded by other passengers, having a seizure.

“At first I was unsure if I was dreaming as I had just woken up and the lighting was dimmed. I knew straight away, from my lifeguard training, that this man was having a seizure whilst on his back, and was choking. Bystanders were unsure of what to do, and were attempting to wake the man by slapping him in the face, and were trying to place their fingers in his mouth in an attempt to clear the vomit and enable the casualty to breathe. Needless to say, their attempts were not having any effect.”

Eleftherios quickly took control of the situation and ordered everyone back, preventing them from injuring themselves or causing further injury to the man, who had stopped breathing and was already turning blue.

“I used a technique I learnt in the RLSS UK National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ) course called ‘action for regurgitation’, where, whilst supporting the casualty, I turned him on his side to clear his airway and established a clear airway. I then supported the man’s head and made notes on how long each seizure lasted until they completed stopped,” Eleftherious added.

The man was unconscious by this point and Eleftherios placed him in the recovery position and instructed a bystander to call the emergency services and arrange for them to be waiting at the next station, which was over half an hour away.

“By the time that the medics arrived the casualty had regained consciousness, but had no memory of what had happened. A medic stated that the man would have died, had it not been for my actions. He was surprised that somebody knew how to treat the casualty, as first aid knowledge are a rarity in Russia,” Eleftherious continued.

The 30-year-old Pool Lifeguard Trainer Assessor is set to be awarded with Certificate of Commendation by RLSS UK for his brave actions.

RLSS UK Chief Executive, Di Steer, said: “We were pleased to hear about Eleftherious using the skills he learnt through the RLSS UK National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ) to save a fellow passenger on his holiday in Russia.

“Our NPLQ not only gives lifeguards the skills and abilities to keep people safe in and around a pool, it gives them life skills that they can be used outside of a pool environment. Eleftherious is a clear example as to why it is so important to have first aid skills.”

There are more than 90,000 RLSS UK Pool Lifeguards in the UK trained in the NPLQ. RLSS UK’s NPLQ is the most awarded lifeguard qualification in the United Kingdom and Ireland with around 95 per cent of all pool lifeguards trained by RLSS UK.

“I’m very grateful that I had the knowledge and skills to save someone’s life when I found myself in that situation. I am pleased to be part of the RLSS UK and cannot stress enough how important it is to have first aid and CPR training after what happened. You never know when you need to use them,” Eleftherious added.

Alleyn’s School sports centre manager and training co-ordinator, Sean Brydges added: “Eleftherious was a candidate on my first NPLQ course, when I was a probationary Pool Lifeguard Trainer Assessor, and I am really proud that he was able to use the skills he learnt to save the life of a person outside of a leisure environment. It is so, so important to have just some basic knowledge of first aid, you never when and where you will need to use it.”


For more information about RLSS UK’s National Pool Lifeguard Qualification –

 Visit our website at

Follow us on Twitter – @RLSSUK

Visit our Facebook page –

Call – 01789 773994