A man who thought he was dying mid-flight has praised cabin crew and fellow passengers after their plane had to make an emergency landing.
Malcolm Pallett, 70, was flying to Luton with his wife, Carol, when he suddenly fell ill.
He said: “I’ve never known anything like it in my life. I thought I was having a stroke.”
The couple, who live in Ampthill, were flying to Luton from Alicante, Spain, with easyJet. They had spent 12 days in their villa but during the last few days of the holiday Mr Pallett had suffered a severe stomach bug and had become dehydrated.
On the day of the flight he felt able to make the journey.
Mrs Pallett, 67, said: “Mid flight he became quite ill. He was losing the ability to talk and his legs felt heavy. He thought he was going to die.
“The stewardess was excellent. She was straight into action, giving oxygen and taking his pulse. But we both thought he was having a stroke.”
Fortunately Mr Pallett was sitting next to trained first aider Gary Giffard, who had been on a work trip to Spain.
Bedford-born Mr Giffard said: “Once he had the oxygen, I advised Malcolm to take long, slow breaths. I kept talking to him – it’s very important to keep people conscious.”
The plane diverted to Charles De Gaulle airport, Paris, where an ambulance was waiting on the runway.
Mrs Pallett said: “The hospital took him straight off for a brain scan which revealed that, thankfully, it was not a stroke. Malcolm was asking: ‘Am I dreaming this? I feel like I’m in a James Bond film’.”
Mr Pallett was diagnosed as having extremely low blood pressure related to the stomach bug and was discharged after spending the night in hospital on a drip.
He was advised to take things slowly and is now recovering from his ordeal at home.
Mrs Pallett said: “We were thrilled with easyJet. It’s nice to have confidence in our local airline.”
An easyJet spokesman commended the crew on board Mr Pallett’s flight and wished him a speedy recovery.
She added: “The safety and wellbeing of our passengers and crew is always easyJet’s highest priority.
“Our cabin crew are highly trained to evaluate all situations onboard and provide first aid.”
The couple have owned their villa 12 years but are now selling up for a quieter life.