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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 October 2007, 12:09 GMT 13:09 UK
Boy critical after choking on gum
Ysbyty Glan Clwyd
Rhys Thomas was taken to hospital at Bodelwyddan last Thursday
A 15-year-old boy is unconscious in hospital intensive care after chewing gum lodged in his windpipe.

Rhys Thomas' parents found the teenager choking in his bedroom six days ago at their home in Holywell, Flintshire.

His father Grahame told the Daily Post newspaper how he and his wife tried desperately to resuscitate him.

He was taken to Ysbyty Glan Clwyd hospital, Bodelwyddan, after suffering a heart attack thought to have been caused by lack of oxygen.

Mr Thomas told the newspaper he believed Rhys had been eating gum as he was going to bed.

Our thoughts are with Rhys and his family and we hope that he will have the strength to get over this
Meurig Rees, Ysgol Glan Clwyd

He heard "strange distressing noises" coming from Rhys's room, but assumed the teenager was watching television.

Mr Thomas told the newspaper: "We opened his door. There was no TV on. It was Rhys, he was gasping and making these noises.

"We thought he was having a fit.

"I rang for the ambulance. By this time he'd stopped breathing and turned blue."

Mr Thomas said he and his wife Trish tried to revive Rhys before four paramedics took over.

'Popular boy'

He was taken to hospital following the incident last Thursday, where he remains unconscious.

Mr Thomas added: "Rhys is not awake yet. It is too early, they tell me, for signs to say anything. He can't communicate with us. He's on life support."

Rhys was described as a keen sportsman who excelled at squash and rugby.

Meurig Rees, head teacher at Ysgol Glan Clwyd, St Asaph, said: "Pupils and staff are very concerned. Our thoughts are with Rhys and his family and we hope that he will have the strength to get over this."

Mr Rees described Rhys as a "very friendly, well-mannered and popular boy".

He added: "We are all being very positive and trying to be very supportive in a mature and compassionate way."

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