Orange County 4th grader recalls saving choking classmate with Heimlich maneuver

Jake Salas King was honored by the school board for saving

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A brave fourth grader in Orange County jumped into action last month to save his choking classmate’s life. It was a life-saving example of getting results.

The class was getting ready to go to lunch when a student started choking on a piece of candy and his best friend stepped in to help.

“I heard something tell me, ‘Go and try to save Kyan,’” said Jake Salas King, of rescuing his friend.

Both students said they’ll never forget when it happened—Friday, April 21.

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“It felt like it wasn’t going to come out or up. I started hitting my chest and nothing was budging,” Kyan Burton said.

Kyan said he was choking after eating a Jolly Rancher. He added he was shaking, could barely breathe and thought his life was over.

“It went down, and it was flat?” said Kyan, after he had drank some water, scared.

Their teacher, Althea Dixon, rushed over and tried performing the Heimlich maneuver.

“Everybody could see that this kid was about to die,” Dixon said. “I did several thrusts, maybe about six, but whatever it was was not dislodging.”

Dixon said she was praying and hoping her student would be OK.

“I was like, ‘God, please. Please don’t let this kid die,’” she said.

The candy was still stuck in Kyan’s throat, and that’s when his best friend, Jake, ran over and helped.

“I tried tapping him on his back and was telling him that I’m trying to help him. Then I grabbed his chest and started doing this,” Jake said.

The candy finally came out. Jake said he learned the Heimlich maneuver from simply researching it at home.

He got a standing ovation and was honored at this week’s Orange County School Board meeting for his life-saving efforts.

When asked if he considers himself a hero, he said, “Yes because I saved my friend’s life.”

Their teacher is so thankful Kyan is OK and forever grateful for Jake, who helped get results.

“I knew he was divinely ordered to carry out what had happened that day because he didn’t want to come to school that day,” Dixon said.

Kyan said he too is thankful for his teacher and his best friend for helping and said he won’t be eating that piece of candy again.

Orange County Public Schools already offer hands-on CPR training for high school students, but new legislation could soon require all districts in the state to have a sign posted in every school’s cafeteria with instructions on how to help someone who is choking.

The bill is awaiting the governor’s signature.

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About the Author:

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.