Manoeuvre, Heimlich


Devised by the Canadian stunt co-ordinator, Knievel Heimlich, the Heimlich manoeuvre is an extremely risky way of parking in very confined areas, using the handbrake to execute a high speed 180° turn into the space available.

As an unforeseen consequence, rear seat passengers involuntarily thrust their clenched fists into the driver’s abdomen and it soon became apparent that this sharp movement could effectively dislodge items such as golf clubs, sausages and draught excluders from a choking person’s windpipe.

In 1982, the manoeuvre was famously used to save the Queen Mother from choking on a fish bone while dining at Balmoral.  Fortuitously, a newly designated Heimlich manoeuvre equerry, known as the Steward of Disgorge, had been appointed just two weeks earlier, and he was able to ensure the Queen Mother coughed up the bone in its entirety.

The fishmonger who supplied the trout had his royal warrant rescinded, while the fish bone was donated to the Victoria & Albert Museum, along with many of the fishmonger’s fingers.