'God can work miracles': Boy survives 25 minutes under water

'God can work miracles': Boy survives 25 minutes under water »Play Video
Rescue swimmers carry Dale Ostrander out of the water. Dale was unconscious and not breathing when rescuers reached him. (Photo courtesy Damian Mulinix/The Chinook Observer)
LONG BEACH, Wash. -- Dale Ostrander was swimming in the Pacific Ocean when he was dragged under by a rip tide.

The 12-year-old spent at least 25 minutes submerged underwater on Friday before rescuers pulled him out. He was not conscious and not breathing.

Seeing their son's limp and lifeless body in the rescuer's arms, the boy's parents were prepared for the worst.

But after receiving CPR, Dale regained a faint heartbeat. Still, his parents feared he was brain-dead.

A medical helicopter flew Dale to Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, where he was placed in a medically-induced coma. The prognosis looked grim all weekend.

"They never expected him to live," said his father, Chad Ostrander. "They expected him to be a vegetable -- never walk, never talk, never say a word."

But doctors tried one more time to reach Dale on Sunday night. When they called his name, he suddenly opened his eyes and blinked.

Then after doctors took out his breathing tube on Monday, Dale did something even more surprising.

"We were trying to get him to cough, to get the congestion (cleared). (I told him,) 'You need to cough,'" said his mother, Kristen Ostrander. "And he coughed once. (And we said) 'OK, you need to do it again.' 'I don't need to' is what he said."

"That was when we knew, hey, maybe there is a miracle that's happening here," Chad said. "We understand hopelessness, but we also understand faith. God can work miracles."

When the Spanaway boy was pulled from the ocean, nearly everyone feared the worst. Friends from his church group dropped to their knees and prayed.

"They really didn't know what else to do," said assistant pastor Tim Minge. "And so that was their first response to the problem was to pray."

Among the first on the scene was 12-year-old Nicole Kissel, who heard Dale yelling for help and tried to rescue him using her surfboard. They frantically battled the swift current before he was pulled under.

"I was paddling with the other arm. He was kicking. And we just got farther out there," she said. "And I was so upset. I'm like, 'I can't die here. This isn't the end."'

Kissel was not injured.

Dale, on the other hand, has a long road to recovery ahead. He will have to undergo a lengthy physical therapy regimen.

But his father says things could have turned out much worse.

"He's lucky to be here," Chad said. "And we're fortunate for that."