Diner owner in Queens comes to rescue of girl who was choking

EAST ELMHURST, Queens (WABC) -- In an Eyewitness News exclusive, a restaurant owner in Queens is being hailed as a hero after he sprang into action to save a young girl who was choking.

Jackson Hole is an old-fashioned family diner, a place where movies have been filmed and customers can have a fun time.

But that quickly changed Sunday night when the girl started choking.

"All of a sudden I heard a woman crying, she was saying my baby's dying, my baby's dying, please help me," said diner owner Isaac Paschalidis.

Video from the restaurant shows the mother with a pre-teen girl. Isaac said the girl had grown ashen and limp. With her airway obstructed, she couldn't breathe.

Paschalidis went to work. The video shows him performing the Heimlich maneuver over and over. But it wasn't working.

"I was praying, inside I was praying to God, please don't die, don't die," he said. "I was keep doing it as hard as I could. I wasn't thinking if I break anything. I was thinking this girl has to live."

At least 13 times he pulled his hands against the area just under the girl's chest. And then whatever was lodged inside came out and she started breathing.

"She hugged me, she kissed me, the father, the mother they were crying, thanking me," said Isaac. "It was so good because the girl was alive."

The girl cried, but was able to walk out of the diner on her own.

Isaac said he never saw her before and doesn't know who she is, but he'll never forget her.

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