Jul 20, 2024  |  
 | Remer,MN
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Brad Matthews

NextImg:TSA officer at Buffalo airport saves co-worker with Heimlich maneuver

A Transportation Security Administration official at Buffalo Niagara International Airport recently saved a colleague from choking to death.

TSA Officer Marie Benny began gagging in a breakroom after trying to talk while eating a granola bar.

“No offense, but I just kept thinking, ‘Dear God, I do not want to die here in the TSA breakroom,’” Ms. Benny said in a TSA release Thursday.

TSA Supervisory Officer William Brand, who was just feet away, leaped into action.

“Instinct took over and it was just like, OK, someone has to do something. … It’s something you never even think about having to do,” Mr. Brand, who received training for the stomach-thrusting maneuver years ago, told Buffalo NBC affiliate WGRZ.

Using five compressions, Mr. Brand dislodged the granola, letting Ms. Benny breathe again.

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

Mr. Brand told local ABC station WKBW-TV he will eat granola again, adding, “I hope Marie does too because otherwise the granola wins.”

• Brad Matthews can be reached at