By Pat Ciarrocchi

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Sportsradio WIP host Angelo Cataldi endured the scare of a lifetime Monday.

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Despite founding Wing Bowl, which is set for Friday, it was a cheesesteak that left him choking, breathless and ready to pass out.

“Wow, I was not breathing and I was losing consciousness,” Cataldi said. “That could have been it.”

The cheesesteak – Philly’s favorite food – was part of a promotional shoot with the WIP morning team, including Spike Eskin,’s Sports Editor.

“I took a bite, and they said, ‘No, you need a bigger one’…and the first one was in my mouth. It got stuck,” Cataldi recalled.

“He wasn’t talking,” Eskin said. “He was just pointing.”

To his throat.

Spike had to think quickly. Though he never officially learned the Heimlich maneuver, he had watched it done on television before.

Two fists under the rib cage, press and push up.

“The first couple [times], nothing happened,” he said. “I just did it harder, and finally, he made the noise and it just shot out.”

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Hahnemann University Hospital’s Dr. Daniel Balk gave Eskin’s technique a thumbs up.

“It sounds like he had decent training by watching TV,” Dr. Balk laughed.

WATCH: Cataldi Nearly Chokes On Cheesesteak, Quick Actions Of Eskin Saves His Life

A clenched fist with a bent thumb allows you to push up on the diaphragm, he said, just under the rib cage.

“I have my hand underneath the breastbone, my hand covering, and I’ll thrust upward. And the idea here is compressing the diaphragm, trying to expel air and ideally, the obstruction,” explained Dr. Balk.

“It’s important for people to really be aware. If they’re not moving air, if they’re unable to cough – that’s when it’s important to do the Heimlich maneuver,” Dr. Balk said.

For Cataldi, who can find humor in virtually everything, this was sobering.

“That’s a near-death experience, and Spike Eskin saved my life.”

For guidelines on doing the Heimlich, click here.

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