In what many are calling a miracle survival story, Dale Ostrander was pulled out of the Pacific Ocean and resuscitated by paramedics in Long Beach, Wash., after being caught under a riptide for over 20 minutes.
The 12-year-old boy was on a trip with his church youth group at Cranberry Road beach when the incident occurred over the weekend, according to The Associated Press.
Another child was also caught in the riptide, but was pulled out sooner than Dale by emergency rescuers.
After Dale was located and removed from the water, paramedics worked to revive him for 10 minutes before he was taken to a nearby children’s hospital.
Watching the entire scene unfold, Damian Mulinix, a photographer with the Chinook Observer said in his blog that “twenty-plus kids from the youth group sobbed uncontrollably and prayed on the sand during the search” while rescuers worked on the boy. For Mulinix, it was “a truly heart wrenching sound if ever there was one.”
Tim Minge, the assistant pastor of the church, expressed to KOMO News, “They really didn’t know what else to do.”
“Honestly, we maintained that no matter what happens everything will be good because we have a strong faith in God,” Chad Ostrander, the boy’s father, shared with NBC.
Dale was in a coma through the weekend as his family sat by his side. “Likely he’s going to die,” the rescuers seemed to insinuate to the father, according to NBC. “They didn’t use those terms ... but they were clear. He was under water too long, without oxygen too long.”
But in an unexpected turn, Dale opened his eyes on Sunday to everyone’s surprise. “They never expected him to live. They expected him to be a vegetable, never walk, never talk, never say a word...” Chad described to NBC.
Opening his eyes was only the first series of miracles. On Monday, Dale also spoke after his mother, Kristen Ostrander, was trying to get the boy to cough. “You need to cough,” Kristen told her son. “And he coughed once. “OK, you need to do it again.”
“I don’t need to,” he responded. “He spoke a whole sentence. It was amazing,” his proud mother said.
“That was when we knew, hey, maybe there is a miracle that’s happening here,” Chad told KOMO. “We understand hopelessness, but we also understand faith. God can work miracles.”
According to an update on the Prayers for Dale blog, Dale continues to respond positively as of Tuesday morning. “He kept trying to get out of bed. When his dad told him that he can't get out of bed, he said very emphatically, ‘Yes I can!’”
Doctors say the “miracle” survivor still has a long way ahead of him, with much physical therapy in line for his recovery.
Whatever the case, his father shared, “He’s lucky to be here. And we’re fortunate for that.”