Family Of Man Who Died In Cinema Accident 'Completely In Shock'
The family of the man who died after getting his head stuck under a cinema seat are said to be 'completely in shock' as the victim was revealed to be a young dad with 'everything to live for'.
Ateeq Rafiq, 24, was watching a film with his wife at the Vue Cinema in Star City, Birmingham on Friday 9 March when he dropped his phone underneath his electronic reclining seat.
Trying to retrieve the phone, Rafiq, who was father to a two-year-old daughter, got stuck as the footrest unexpectedly clamped down on his head, causing him to panic and lose consciousness after suffering a suspected cardiac arrest.
Medics were called to the Vue and managed to restart Rafiq's heart before taking him to hospital. Yesterday Vue International confirmed that Rafiq sadly passed away a week later on 16 March.
Paying tribute to Rafiq, his sister-in-law Fatima Arzo told the Daily Mirror: "We are grieving and completely in shock. My sister is in pieces.
"We are grateful to everyone who tried to help him, and at the moment we are praying and trying to come to terms with the fact we lost a loved one."
A security guard who was one of the first people who rushed onto the scene to try to free Ateek has explained how he was 'shaken' after the incident.
The guard joined other staff members desperately trying to help Ateek on the floor of the cinema screen after hearing the commotion over the security radio.
"There was a real tussle going on," the guard said. "[Rafiq] was panicking when I first got there but after a few minutes he just lost consciousness and went still.
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"His poor wife was screaming his name as we tried to pull him back out. It was really horrible to witness.
"It took us 10 minutes to break the footrest and release him, and another staff member started performing CPR.
"The ambulance arrived shortly afterwards and paramedics tried to save him. I think they managed to bring him round.
"I carried on with the rest of my shift afterwards but I was really shaken. I can't believe he died. It's a terrible way to go."
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman confirmed that crews arrived to find a man in cardiac arrest after bystanders had already started CPR.
He added that ambulance staff quickly took over and managed to restart Rafiq's heart before transporting him to Heartlands Hospital for further treatment.
A close friend of Ateeq, who chose not to be named, described Ateeq as a 'lovely' man, adding that he 'had his whole life ahead of him'.
"He was a lovely, humble, down to earth guy who was always smiling," the friend told the newspaper.
"He literally had everything to live for.
"We are all devastated to have lost him so early and are in shock. We cannot believe it."
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