'If he hadn't stopped my daughter would be dead': Hero bus driver saves choking baby's life
Steven Welsh was driving the number 29 to Bloxwich when he spotted a panicked father screaming for help.
"I just felt panic. I thought I'd lost my daughter, I thought she was gone."
These are the words of a distraught father who said there were 'not enough thanks in the world' that he could give to Walsall bus driver Steven Welsh, after he saved his baby daughter from choking to death.
Carpenter Steve Hatfield, 30, stopped his car in the middle of the road by the town's Tesco store when he noticed 17-month-old Evie-Mai had 'gone blue' and 'was lifeless'.
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He jumped out of the car and panicked, shouting for help, gaining the attention of 37-year-old driver Mr Welsh, who had just pulled the number 29 bus out of the National Express depot behind Mr Hatfield's vehicle.
The bus driver, who lives in Bentley and has worked for National Express for 20 years, said: "The dad dragged his daughter out of the seat.
"She was all limp, I could see there was a problem. She was all grey, she had obviously choked on something.
"The dad was panicking and crying and screaming. I banged on her back but nothing happened, asked if he had cleared her airways but he said her teeth were clenched together.
"She was nearly dead. I thought, this baby is going to die. I gave it one last chance and thought I'd try and make her sick. So I put my fingers down her throat, and pulled her tongue out.
"Then she came round, and started whimpering."
Father-of-two Mr Welsh admitted he had no first aid training at all, and acted on 'instinct'.
He said: "I have two little kids myself, they turn seven and five in May. It happened to my son a few years ago - he choked. And I felt really bad then like the dad must have this time. It's worse when it's your own."
After a trip to hospital, it was discovered that Evie-Mai suffered from a febrile convulsion, a seizure associated with a high body temperature but without any serious underlying health issue.
They most commonly occur in children between the ages of six months and five years.
A relieved Mr Hatfield said: "I just felt panic. I thought I'd lost her, and that she was gone. The driver didn't have to stop to help but he did, he could have driven past.
"If he hadn't have stopped I really do think my daughter would be dead.
"There's not enough thanks I could have given him in the world."
Mr Hatfield, with his partner and Evie's mother Charlotte Millington, have since been back to visit Mr Welsh at the Walsall depot.
Charlotte, 30, a former nursery nurse said: "If it wasn't for the bus driver then I don't like to think what could have happened.
"Me and Steve both feel like just saying thank you isn't enough. We've been thinking about him all the time.
"I was at home when it happened and it made me feel sick.
"I just kept thinking she doesn't have her special blanket, when she's upset that is all she wants.
"Doctors said nothing could have prevented it. She's never had a fit before but apparently it could happen again."
Thankfully, little Evie-Mai is back to her normal self, enjoying playing with her six-year-old brother Lewis and watching her favourite television show Waffle the Wonder Dog.
Tom Stables, managing director of National Express West Midlands, said: "Everybody at National Express is very proud of Steven. He didn't hesitate to help, he stayed calm and did the right thing. What a hero for saving baby Evie's life."
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