A WAITER has been praised after coming to the rescue of a man who was choking on food and could not breathe.

Sheakh Rifat, aged 24, said he was going about his work “like every normal night” at the Bangladesh Tandoori Restaurant in Bangor when he noticed something was seriously wrong with a customer.

“I had just served food and I began to look around, asking customers if they are alright and enjoying their food. Everyone was gossiping and having a good chat,” he said.

“I went to the till and then I saw that something was very wrong with a customer.”

Rifat, a Bangor University student, said the customer, Jake Snelling, “couldn’t breathe and his face went red”.

“There were tears coming out from his eyes and it took two to three seconds to realise what had happened.”

While Jake’s friends were unsure how to respond, Rifat took action and told the struggling customer to stand up. He then proceeded to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre.

“I pulled him out from the chair, brought him into the corridor and put my hands round his chest very tightly,” said Rifat, manager at the restaurant. I shook him hard a few times and after a few attempts the food came out.”

Jake gave Rifat a signal to say that he was OK and his friends began to clap for the waiter’s heroic effort as he went bar to get his customer glass of water.

“After that he ate the food again, so it must have been nice,” joked Rifat, who is due to begin studying international business law at BPP University.

“When I was a kid, my dad had done the same thing with me in an emergency,” he said.

“You don’t really think about it; it is subconscious.”

Speaking about the incident to BBC Radio Wales, Jake Snelling said: "I'd been with some friends, we'd just been up to the mountains for the weekend to do some exploring.

"We were feeling quite proud of ourselves and thought we would treat ourselves to a curry.

"All was going well, the food was lovely, great atmosphere, and then disaster struck.

"It was so lucky Rifat was there."