Good luck and the efforts of others help hiker make it safely off a mountain after a heart attack.

LEWISTON – Somebody up there likes Jack Kubovcik.

While hiking East Bald Pate Mountain with his 33-year old son, Eric, on July 4, Jack Kubovcik had the good fortune of having enough.

Enough people willing to help.

Enough people willing to help that actually could.

And enough space for a helicopter to land.

Taken together, it was enough to save his life after he suffered a heart attack on a mountain.

The 63-year-old Kubovcik, who lives in New Jersey, said he survived “with luck.”

“Or maybe it was God,” he said Friday afternoon as he prepared to leave Lewiston on Saturday.

It was hot, in the mid-80s, when Kubovcik went down at around 3,800 feet on the mountain.

“I thought I was just getting sick,” Jack Kubovcik said.

“He just went down (yelling) ‘Arggh!'” Eric Kubovcik said. “He was out.”

Eric Kubovcik, who had just become an emergency medical technician in May, broke his father’s fall. They both carried approximately 50-pound packs.

Eric Kubovcik tended to his father, and a female hiker named Jessica approached. She asked if they needed help. She said she had a cell-phone.

Eric Kubovcik did not know what was wrong with his father, but he asked the woman to call 911, because he thought it might be a heart attack.

“She screamed,” Eric said, and then regained her composure enough to make the call.

Eric Kubovcik was getting ready to do CPR and rescue breathing when his father kind of came to.

After talking to his dad, Eric Kubovcik thought that it might just be dehydration.

“We started pumping him full of water,” Eric Kubovcik said.

“For some strange reason, I didn’t do it,” Jack Kubovcik said about drinking the water he had packed for the hike, adding that he had been focused a lot on arduous parts of the hike.

Along with the water, the younger Kubovcik gave his father emergency electrolytes.

Jessica, after donating her water, went on her way at this point since it seemed like a case of dehydration that was under control. In the excitement, the Kubovciks didn’t get her last name.

Eric Kubovcik then unpacked a cell phone from one of the packs he and his father carried.

But he soon noticed that his father had cool and clammy skin, a sign of possible shock. Victims of dehydration tend to have dry and hot skin.

Then hiker Jeremy Wirths, an EMT from Falmouth, and hiker Ryan Wimert of Cumberland came on the scene.

With Eric Kubovcik helping, Wirths noted more signs of shock, as Jack Kubovcik kept getting more and more pale.

Eric Kubovcik called an emergency dispatcher: “We need to fly him out of here.”

Jack Kubovcik said he had a sense of impending doom, a sign of both shock and of having suffered a heart attack.

“I kept telling Eric: ‘I have to get out of here,'” Jack Kubovcik said.

The EMTs covered the very sick man with a sleeping bag and elevated his legs; Jack Kubovcik told them he had pain in his lower chest.

LifeFlight soon arrived from Central Maine Medical Center.

“I was just incredibly relieved,” Eric Kubovcik said.

It took four people to move Jack Kubovcik into the helicopter.

Cathy Case of LifeFlight said she’s not sure what the rescue crew would have done without the extra help from the people already on the scene. The flight to Lewiston took roughly 20 minutes, she said.

During that flight, Jack Kubovcik said he could only see whirring blades and swimming clouds.

“I know I wouldn’t have made it” without the flight, Jack said.

That night, Jack Kubovcik had emergency angioplasty performed, and Monday he had a quadruple bypass done.

Now, Jack said, “I (feel) great. I have nothing but praise for everybody” who helped.

“I’m really impressed with the people in Maine,” Eric Kubovcik, who lives in Washington State, said. He added that people really went the extra mile for his father.

“Everybody was there at the right time in the right place,” Jack said.


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