Brave Stranger Rescues 4-Year-Old Boy From Drowning In A Pool

Alexis Rigney says her neighbor is a hero after he rescued her 4-year-old son, Xzavierfrom drowning.

Rigney, 22, says that she was comforting her infant daughter on May 18, when Xzavier, who has autism and is non-verbal, wandered outside to their apartment complex pool.

Brave Stranger Rescues 4-Year-Old Boy From Drowning In A Pool

brave stranger rescues 4-year-old boy from drowning in a pool
Image via Shutterstock

“Somehow he got past the locked gates,” Rigney told TODAY Parents, sharing that Xzavier has “always been attracted to water,” but is not a strong swimmer.

In the surveillance video, Xzavier is seen taking one step into the pool before he’s completely submerged. He attempts to pull himself up but to no avail. Just minutes later, neighbor Tom Westerhaus appears in the frame and is shown giving CPR to the little boy, who officials say had been underwater for three minutes and 22 seconds.

“I think it’s important to note that we edited the video because it’s very disturbing to watch, but it’s also important to note that Mr. Westerhaus continued compressions for a little more than two and a half minutes,” a spokesperson for the City of Lawrence Police, Laura McCabe, shared with the outlet.

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“Xzavier was showing no signs of life, was literally blue in color from the lack of oxygen, and Mr. Westerhaus did not give up. I hope people realize how long that is to work on a child with very few signs of it making a difference. As you can see in the video, the little boy eventually started coughing and breathing,” McCabe added.

The Topeka Capital-Journal shared that Westerhaus’s 12-year-old son, Maddox, noticed Xzavier was in trouble and ran to his dad. Westerhaus, a former lifeguard, then jumped the fence, pulled Xzavier out of the pool, and began performing life-saving chest compressions.

A few moments after Rigney noticed that Xzavier was gone, she heard sirens and looked outside.

brave stranger rescues 4-year-old boy from drowning in a pool
Image via Shutterstock

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“I started crying and screaming hysterically,” she said. “I couldn’t hear him crying over all the noise. He wasn’t moving.”

Had it not been for Westerhaus, Rigney said she is certain Xzavier would have died. “I don’t know what I would do without him,” she shared through tears.

In the two weeks since the terrifying incident, Rigney has installed alarms on the doors in her apartment. She said Xzavier is “doing great” and has made a full recovery.

“We’re very proud of Maddox and Tom and their heroic efforts with an extraordinary outcome, and thrilled that telling this story will help raise awareness about the importance of water safety,” McCabe said.

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