First responders honored for saving youth’s life

Staff Report

The Plaquemine firefighters and deputies who saved the life of a local youth in June of 2019 were honored at the Plaquemine Fire Department Christmas Party on Dec. 5. They also had the opportunity to talk with Hunter Shurba, the young man they saved.

“COVID put a halt to our earlier plans to honor these first responders, but we didn’t want to let it slip by,” Fire Chief Darren Ramirez said. “They went above and beyond to save Hunter, and we wanted to recognize their efforts.”

First responders who saved the life of Hunter Schurba (center) were honored during the Plaquemine Fire Department Christmas Party. Pictured from left are Iberville Parish’s Sheriff Deputy Bronson Lewis, Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Derek McPhate, Schurba, Plaquemine Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Derek Bujol and Plaquemine Fire Department Captain Shawn Bordelon.

The wreck occurred on the morning of June 12, 2019, when Hunter’s vehicle went into Bayou Plaquemine near 62400 Bayou Jacob Road. The Plaquemine Fire Department, along with Acadian Ambulance and Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office, were dispatched to the accident upon reports that one vehicle was in the water and that no one had gotten out of it.

Deputies Bronson Lewis and Derek McPhate arrived on scene first and immediately swam to the vehicle. Shortly after firefighters Derek Bujol and Shaun Bordelon arrived and Bujol also swam to the vehicle. All three were trying to gain access into the vehicle, but all doors were locked. Shortly after Acadian Ambulance and Paramedic Ryan Andrews arrived.

District Fire Chief Derek Bujol had taken a hydrant wrench into the water with him and knocked out the rear driver’s side door window. He did a blind sweep into the rear of the vehicle and felt someone. At that time, he called out that he had someone and was coming out.

Medic Andrews went into the water and took Hunter from Bujol, and headed to the bank with Hunter over his shoulder. Hunter was unconscious and not breathing at the time.

Fire Captain Bordelon was waiting at the edge of the bank and drug Hunter up the bank enough for Paramedic Andrews to begin CPR, with Bordelon giving rescue breaths. While CPR was being performed, Fire Chief Ramirez and Lt. Chris County assisted Sgt. Derek Mcphate, Deputy Lewis and District Chief Bujol out of the water.

Andrews and Bordelon performed CPR for about 20 minutes before Andrews made the call to load Hunter onto a stretcher and transport him to the hospital. Once he was in the ambulance they noticed that he had a shockable rhythm. He was shocked twice and resumed a heartbeat on his own.

They continued rescue breathing for him as they transported him to the Iberville/Ochsner Emergency Center. While in route to the hospital Hunter began to take some breaths on his own. Once he arrived at Ochsner, he was air lifted by Air Med to OLOL in Baton Rouge.

While it has been a long road to Hunter’s recovery, he was happy to meet the first responders who saved his life and to help honor them.

“There wasn’t a dry eye in the place when we told the story,” Chief Ramirez said. “We are just so happy that this terrible accident had a good ending. Had we not responded so quickly and had the training to act fast, it could have gone differently. We are all happy to see Hunter’s recovery and his family is so appreciative of everything done to save him.”