Tom Ridge says he flatlined three times during a November heart attack, and he's crediting health care workers for keeping him alive.

The 72-year-old former U.S. homeland security secretary and ex-Pennsylvania governor told The Washington Post in a story published Monday he woke up feeling ill at a hotel in Austin, Texas.

He says he did an internet search on heart attacks before summoning help from hotel staff.

Ridge says emergency technicians cracked his sternum and broke several ribs working to revive him before he was put on hospital life support.

These days he's working a few days a week as his health recovers.

The Republican served as governor from 1995 to 2001 and as the country's first homeland security secretary until 2005.