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TSA officer at Buffalo Niagara International Airport saves colleague’s life using Heimlich maneuver

By Anthony Reyes

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    CHEEKTOWAGA, New York (WKBW) — The Transportation Security Administration announced an officer at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport has been credited with saving the life of another officer.

According to the TSA, Officer Marie Benny was nearing the end of her part-time morning shift and was relaxing in the breakroom. She was snacking on granola and speaking with friends when she unexpectedly couldn’t breathe.

“I began choking on the granola I was eating and was very scared because I could not get enough air to cough anything up,” Benny said in a release from the TSA. “No offense, but I just kept thinking, ‘Dear God, I do not want to die here in the TSA breakroom.’”

Supervisory Officer William Brand was nearby preparing for his afternoon shift, the TSA said he and others were initially unaware she was choking. Benny was able to make herself known and heard by using her hands.

According to the TSA, Brand put his 15-year-old Heimlich training to work and the food dislodged in five compressions.

“He could’ve stepped away, refused, froze or said he couldn’t do anything, but he stepped up and put his arms around me with a strong bear hug motion,” Benny said.

According to Brand, Benny took an extra 15 minutes on her break and then went back to work.

“I want everyone to know Bill Brand went into action and saved a life,” said Benny. “It seems like a simple statement, but it is very emotional.”

“I had the opportunity to speak to Officers Benny and Brand shortly after the event. Officer Benny went into great detail explaining the entire event to me, and it is crystal clear that Officer Brand saved her life.

We are all very proud of Officer Brand. He was very humble and took it all in stride even though he had just saved a life. I conveyed to him that he represents the best of what TSA has to offer.” – Federal Security Director Bart Johnson

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