When Wyndham Vale man Achala Muthukudasinghe had a heart attack during a Sunday picnic earlier this month, he was fortunate that his childhood friend Mahesh Perera was nearby.

Mr Perera, who had completed a CPR course just two weeks prior to the October 20 picnic, sprang into action after Mr Muthukudasinghe “started feeling strange” while picnicking near the Geelong waterfront.

Mr Muthukudasinghe, 42, said bystanders, including Mahesh, recognised that he was displaying symptoms of a possible heart attack.

Mr Perera and other bystanders worked to resuscitate Mr Muthukudasinghe, before an ambulance arrived on the scene.

The paramedics transferred Mr Muthukudasinghe to University Hospital Geelong where he underwent surgery to treat a blocked artery.

Waking up in hospital later that day, Mr Muthukudasinghe – who has no family history of heart problems – said he slowly began to remember the events of the picnic.

“Luckily, all the right people were on the ground to support me,” he said.

“They were working on me for 10-15 minutes before the ambulance arrived, I was very lucky.”

Mr Muthukudasinghe said that in light of his friend’s life-saving actions, he would encourage everyone to do CPR training.

Barwon Health’s director of cardiology services Dr Chin Hiew said Mr Muthukudasinghe was “extremely fortunate” that the bystanders recognised the symptoms of possible heart attack and immediately began CPR.

“Every minute counts,” Dr Hiew said.