A passenger's life was saved by the use of a cardiac electric shock device in what American Airlines believed was a first for the use of defibrillators in a domestic plane.

The device was used to restart Robert Giggey's heart after he collapsed following a dash to catch his flight Wednesday. The airplane was still at the gate, but officials said that without the defibrillator aboard, the 52-year-old man easily could have died."The people on the airplane were able to give him the same treatment we would have begun as soon as our ambulance got there," said airport safety director Alvy Dodson.

The airline said defibrillators have been used 39 times on its passengers with chest pains but mostly for monitoring purposes.