Father & Son Save Autistic Child From Drowning
Xavier Rigney briefly got out of his mother’s sight while she was tending to her infant and managed to get through a locked fence and jumped into the pool.
“His head goes completely under the water. His mouth and nose never come up above the water, and that’s why we say they don’t have the ability to scream,” Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical Lt. Jeff Krall, explained at a press conference. “What you see with his arms, you see just a little bit of movement, we call it climbing, they’re trying to climb out of the water.”
Maddox Westerhouse, 12, saw Xavier drowning and ran to his apartment to get his dad, Tom.
“My friends were yelling at me to go get help and I just went like, ‘Oh no,’ and ran,” Maddox said.
Tom Westerhouse jumped a 6-foot fence and pulled the 4-year-old boy out of the water, CPR.
Tom jumped the 6-foot fence and then into the pool to pull Xavier from the water and performed CPR.
“When he started to cough up water and everything, I knew that was a good sign,” Tom said, noting that he took a CPR course over 15 years ago but the training came back to him. “It definitely hits home a lot harder having a son myself.”
“He’s my best friend so I don’t know what I would do without him,” Xavier’s mother Alexis.
Children with autism are 160 times more likely to die from drowning than the general pediatric population, according to WebMD.