TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Tampa International Airport police officer got a surprise reunion Friday afternoon with a motorcyclist he saved.
On March 15, Officer Ryan Runge rescued a motorcyclist who was severely injured in a crash. Runge, an off-duty officer, and an off-duty EMT saved the victim from asphyxiation caused by his body contorting in a way that kept him from breathing.
Runge said he was doing a routine perimeter check when he came across Jarid Demarais on Air Cargo Road after he crashed his motorcycle.
“He was laying face down. I was doing hill toe assessment, and I said, ‘Hey this guy isn’t breathing. We need to work on his airway.’ We were able to just turn him slightly to correct his airway and that’s when he took a deep breath in and I was like, ‘Oh man I got him,'” said Runge.
He was given the Life Saving Award for the rescue, not knowing Demarais was in the crowd. “I was not expecting to see him. It’s a pleasant surprise to be able to see him. I’m glad he’s still here with us,” said Runge.
“It’s wonderful – wonderful to finally meet him. You could probably see from the tears on the stage,” said Demarais. He wanted to give Runge a proper thank you. “I’ve been waiting to meet him for months. It’s been a long recovery and I’m very lucky to be here. Renews your faith in humanity. It’s nice to see such good people out in the world.
You can watch the reunion in the player above.