LONG BEACH, Wash. — A 12-year-old boy found submerged in the Pacific Ocean surf after several minutes was released from intensive care Wednesday.
“I expected to say our goodbyes and so did my wife, and we were just prepared for that,” Chad Ostrander, father of Charles “Dale” Ostrander, told the AP. “He really surprised us.”
“There’s been several miracles just in the circumstances of finding him, the fact that he’s not dead, the fact that he can move, the fact that he can speak,” he said. “ Unbelievable.”
Dale was visiting the southwest Washington coast with members of his church youth group last Friday when he was caught in a riptide north of Long Beach, Wash.
Another 12-year-old, Nicole Kissel, was on a boogie board nearby, spotted Dale as he was struggling in the water and got onto her board — until a wave knocked the boy off, said her father, Shanon Kissel.
“When they pop back up, Nicole notices that Dale is not on the board. He is behind her. She turns around to face him like she’s gonna go back after him. I had to tell her to get back on the board. I’m yelling this while she’s still out 50 feet maybe 60 feet in front of me. She gets back on her board. I was able to get to her. We just come back together,” Shanon Kissel said.
It’s still not clear exactly how long Dale spent under the water. Rescuer Eddie Mendez said when he found Dale, the boy was floating about two feet under the surface. Based on witnesses and rescuers, the boy could have been in the water for 15 minutes.
When he was pulled out, he didn’t have a pulse. Medics started CPR. Finally, after Dale reached a nearby hospital, his pulse returned.
He was flown from the southwest Washington coast to OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland. On Sunday night, he opened his eyes as he was eased off sedatives.
On Monday, he said a handful of words to his parents. As they encouraged him to cough to clear his throat, he replied, “I don’t have to.”
Doctors had cautioned that even if Dale survived, he could have permanent brain damage.
But on Wednesday he was released from intensive care.