Staff at Newry Leisure Centre were forced to step in when an ambulance failed to turn up to reports a member of the public was suffering a heart attack.
Workers – who have been described as “heroic” – waited for close to 90 minutes and still no emergency vehicle arrived at the facility.
It was then they took the decision to take matters into their own hands.
And, had they not, it has been claimed the leisure centre customer might not be here now.
The situation has been branded “disgraceful” and it is one which a local representative said further calls into question ambulance cover in this area.
SDLP Newry City Councillor Killian Feehan praised as “heroic” the response of council staff at Newry Leisure Centre who “came to the aid of a member of the public during a medical emergency”.
The patient began to experience chest pains while using the facility and it was decided to summon an ambulance.
But what happened next took them all by surprise and left them having to make further life-or-death decisions.
Said Councillor Feehan: “I want to praise the courage and gumption of workers at Newry Leisure Centre who came to the aid of a patron after they began experiencing chest pains.
“It became apparent that the person was having a heart attack, and an ambulance was called immediately. After almost 90 minutes of waiting, no ambulance arrived, so the staff at the Leisure Centre took the laudable decision to transport the person to the hospital for emergency treatment.
“In a day and age where people are reluctant to intervene in such situations, I want to applaud the decency of the workers who did the right thing and stepped in to save this person’s life.
“It is deeply concerning that no ambulance arrived to respond to this life-threatening emergency. This raises serious questions once again about ambulance coverage in our area, and I will be bringing those issues to the relevant bodies as a matter of urgency.
“The heroic response of workers in Newry Leisure Centre may well have saved a life on this occasion. But it is nothing short of disgraceful that this individual had to experience such indignity and that council workers were left with no choice but to transport them to hospital.”
Armagh I has requested a response from the NI Ambulance Service.