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McEwen saves friends' lives

Robbie McEwen has been suffering since he was knocked down by a TV cameraman.

Robbie McEwen has been suffering since he was knocked down by a TV cameraman. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

While there may be confusion surrounding where he'll ride next year, Robbie McEwen's life off the bike took an interesting turn when he saved the lives of two former Australian sporting stars during a charity event last weekend.

McEwen was attending the event supporting former Australian Rugby League international player Mat Rogers' 4ASD Kids charity when he was called upon to rescue Rogers and another former rugby league star, Matthew Johns.

The event was held on a boat and during a passing storm covers were pulled over the vessel, resulting in a build up of carbon monoxide. Following the bad weather the cover wasn't removed and suddenly the poisonous gases were overcoming guests.

"Suddenly, everything started getting strange," Rogers told "One of my friends said to me that he thought he had food poisoning and another had to sit down because his heart was racing so much.

"I even joked to one of them to stop yawning because he was making me sleepy. When someone collapsed, Robbie McEwen twigged immediately what was happening.

Rogers attributes McEwen's clarity of thought and action to high-altitude training, meaning higher oxygen levels kept him awake while those around him collapsed.

"I hate to think what would have happened if he hadn't been there because firstly he knew what was happening and, secondly, he does high-altitude training, so his blood is rich in red blood cells and he wasn't affected by the carbon monoxide.

"The scary thing is how close it came to being a tragedy and if my telling this story alerts one person to the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning on boats, it will be worth it."

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