A CRUISE ship entertainer has been hailed a ‘guardian angel’ after saving a man’s life with CPR while at sea.

Pete Matthews said he burst into tears after finding out that the man survived because of him.

The 50-year-old from West Parley has been an entertainer and juggler since he was 15 years old and now performs on cruise ships across the world.

He was working and celebrating his 50th birthday on the Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas seven-day cruise from New Jersey to the Bahamas when the incident happened on December 12.

Between his shows, Pete was returning from getting his wife a drink when he heard a commotion in the hallway near his cabin.

“These guys, probably in their 30s, were shouting ‘dad, dad, don’t die dad.’

“It was a real panic, and I ran down the corridor, dressed and ready for my show, and saw this chap on the floor, slumped against the wall.

“I’m colour-blind but I was told he was purple and immediately asked if anyone knew CPR because I did.”

Pete learnt first aid and CPR over 20 years ago as part of his Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) course but had never needed to use it in action before.

He said he spent around five minutes giving mouth-to-mouth and chest compressions to the American, called Joe Kutza, 58, while another passenger helped.

A team of medics then arrived and Pete returned to his show.

“The most surreal moment of it all was the fact that 15 minutes after this happened, I'm on stage cracking funnies and making an audience laugh, and they were oblivious to the fact that that had just happened.

“I just put it in a box and just got on with it.

“I can't even begin to tell you how my hands were shaking just for the whole show.”

After his performance, a member of staff told Pete that the man had been taken to hospital and said: “Congratulations I’ve heard you saved a man’s life.”

Pete said he immediately burst into tears before asking to meet Joe in hospital.

“I met the man, Joe, now wired up with a breathing mask on, and was introduced as the man that saved his life.

“He shook my hand, pulled me in for a hug said god bless you, I love you man, and then the family continued to thank me too.

Pete added: “He just keeps saying that I was his guardian angel.”

Following the incident Pete had a celebratory drink with his family.

He has since kept in contact with the family and Joe returned home to Pennsylvania where he is recovering.