Hero neighbour steps in to rescue dying toddler in Upper Holloway

Hitesh Rao pictured with Aybars Sen and mother Bahrie Hasan. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Hitesh Rao pictured with Aybars Sen and mother Bahrie Hasan. Picture: Nigel Sutton - Credit: Nigel Sutton

A heroic neighbour saved a toddler’s life after he turned “white as a ghost” and stopped breathing in his Upper Holloway home.

Hitesh Rao was settling down in his Cornwallis Road flat to watch Spurs play in the Champions League last week when he heard frantic screams from Bahriye Hasan who lives next door.

Bahriye then began banging on his door and he rushed to open it, knowing something was seriously wrong.

The 46-year-old Natwest worker told the Gazette: “I could hear her on the phone to her husband and she was in hysterics.

“When she banged on my door I was dreading what was wrong. She was holding her son Aybars. The top of his nose and his forehead were blue and the rest of his face was clammy and white.

You may also want to watch:

“He was limp and wasn’t moving so I grabbed him and put him on the floor to do the baby Heimlich manoeuvre.”

As Bahriye paced around the room and called 999, Hitesh was trying and failing to resuscitate two-year-old Aybars using techniques he learnt years ago working for St John Ambulance.

Most Read

“It wasn’t working,” he continued. “I did about 30 slaps and on the last set I did it with a little bit more pressure, but not too much because you can break a baby’s ribs like that.

“All of a sudden he vomited from his nose and mouth. It was like The Exorcist. I had been doing it for about 90 seconds but it seemed like an eternity.

“He coughed and started breathing. I couldn’t believe it. When he opened his eyes it was amazing.”

Bahriye and medics praised Hitesh for saving Aybars’ life, and he stressed how vital it is people know first aid.

He said: “It’s so important people learn the basics. I hadn’t used it for ages but it just kicked in. Not knowing what to do can cost lives.”

Aybar and his parents spent the night in hospital but after getting the all-clear the next day he came home – to find Hitesh had bought him a scooter.

Aybars’ dad Fikri said: “Hitesh was a hero. When my wife called she was crying. She didn’t understand what was wrong with him. But now everything is OK.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter