The Kiss Of Life

Published 07 Nov 2019

  • uploaded by: Chris Dodds | Sales & Marketing Manager Thorne & Derrick International

Pictured: The Kiss of Life – A utility worker giving mouth-to-mouth to co-worker after contacting a low voltage overhead line wire. 1967.

Kiss Of Life

Taken in 1967 by Rocco Morabito, this photo called “The Kiss of Life” shows a utility worker named J.D. Thompson giving mouth-to-mouth to co-worker Randall G. Champion after he became unconscious following contact with a low voltage line.

They had been performing routine maintenance when Champion brushed one of the low voltage lines at the top of the utility pole.

His safety harness prevented a fall, and Thompson, who had been ascending below him, quickly reached him and performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

He was unable to perform CPR given the circumstances, but continued breathing into Champion’s lungs until he felt a slight pulse, then unbuckled his harness and descended with him on his shoulder. Thompson and another worker administered CPR on the ground, and Champion was moderately revived by the time paramedics arrived, eventually making a full recovery.

Champion lived an extra 35 years. He died in 2002 at the age of 64.

Thompson is still alive today.


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Rocco Morabito won the 1968 Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography for “The Kiss of Life”.

“I passed these men working and went on to my assignment”, says Morabito. “I took eight photos at the strike. I thought I’d go back and see if I could rind another picture”.

But when Morabito went back to the linemen, “I heard screaming. I looked up and I saw this man hanging down. Oh my God. I didn’t know what to do. I took a picture right quick. J.D. Thompson was running toward the pole. I went to my car and called an ambulance. I got back to the pole and J.D. was breathing into Champion. I backed off, way off until I hit a house and I couldn’t go any farther. I took another picture. Then I heard Thompson shouting down: He’s breathing!”.

The photograph was published in newspapers around the world. Morabito, born in Port Chester, New York, moved to Florida when he was 5, and by age 10 was working as a newsboy, selling papers for the Jacksonville Journal.

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