Cape May Coastguardsman Rescues Restaurant Patron

Coastguardsman Rescues Choking Patron

My mother use to say, don’t laugh at the dinner table or you’ll be crying before bed. Joseph Pedano laughed at the dinner table at Lucky Bones last night. He almost died. Thanks to quick thinking, a Cape May Coastguardsman rescued Pedano.

“I just inhaled the scallop during like a cough or a laugh,”  Pedano told me. The next minute or two he felt his life flash before his eyes. Josh was a party of six for dinner, which included his mom, fiancee and other family members.

Luckily in Lucky Bones at a nearby table, sat Scott Johnson. Johnson, a Coast Guard member attached to the small boat station in Cape May was eating dinner with his wife. Scott’s duties include search and rescue operations on the water.

Facebook photo Scott Johnson

“We were a couple of tables over and heard a commotion, Johnson said. “At first I thought the guy was having a seizure, till I saw a woman wrap her arms around Pedano.” “He had something lodged in his throat and was losing consciousness. The woman tried two compressions, to no avail. I saw her give him one compression and immediately sprinted over and said let me try.”

Let Me Try

Pedano and Johnson were more matched in size. “I gave him one good Heimlich compression and the scallop came out on the table,” Scott Johnson said. The Heimlich maneuver is a first-aid procedure for dislodging an obstruction from a person’s windpipe in which a sudden strong pressure is applied on the abdomen, between the naval and the rib cage.

It’s unclear if that training was provided as part of Johnson’s training in the Coast Guard.

In an emotional Facebook post Joseph Pedano expressed gratitude for the Cape May coastguardsman who rescued him. “You made sure 2 young daughters still get to be with their father,” Pedano wrote.

“You prevented a mother from getting an ominous phone call that would impact the rest of her life. Today you put your training to action in a real life scenario and it paid off,” he continued. “It was not your responsibility to do so, and yet you made it your own. I can’t possibly thank you enough.”

Scott Johnson said, “they were very thankful and his family were so loving I got so many hugs and thank you and he bought my dinner for me.”

“I was just doing what was right,” Johnson said.




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  1. Jeff
    December 23, 2018 / 2:51 pm

    What a wonderful story especially at this time of the year. God bless both men. May they remain friends for life.

  2. Robin Russo
    December 23, 2018 / 3:52 pm

    I hope they were at least rewarded with free dinners and drinks and perhaps a gift certificate too! God bless these young men!

    • December 24, 2018 / 12:12 pm

      I do believe Scott mentioned being treated to dinner

    • Robert Hubeli
      December 25, 2018 / 2:12 pm

      I’m sure he wasn’t seeking any reward or compensation when he noticed the man choking to death. But if it matters, here’s the next to last sentence in the article, Scott Johnson said, “they were very thankful and his family were so loving I got so many hugs and thank you and he bought my dinner for me.”

      I’m a CG veteran and I can tell you this, saving someone’s life is a reward in itself. Merry Christmas.

  3. December 23, 2018 / 5:22 pm

    The US Coast Guards are our Guardian Angels of Cape May Island & of Sea. They are Our Heroes as other US Servicemen & Servicewomen are..
    God Bless Our Armed Forces & America. Merry Christmas !!

  4. Diane Rock
    December 23, 2018 / 6:03 pm

    Way to go Scott. Glad you were there.

  5. Mama Bee
    December 23, 2018 / 10:43 pm

    Angels are put in the right place, and at the right time!!!

  6. December 24, 2018 / 12:09 pm

    BZ Scott, another job well done by the Coast Guard Guard.

  7. December 27, 2018 / 9:21 am

    God Bless You Scott Johnson! 💖

  8. December 23, 2019 / 9:03 am

    Wow! Timing is everything! Thanks for posting this again. It makes you realize that we are fragile in many ways but that there are people out there who can help. The other day I was asked to put a suicide prevention hot line out there on twitter. I thought about it, hesitated, but then said “why not!” You just never know who it’ll help at this time of year!
    Merry Christmas to all…esp those connected to one of my fav places in the world – beautiful Cape May!! See you in Feb!