What could have been a truly tragic story now has a happy ending, thanks to some quick thinking and action on the part of one very special girl. Twelve-year-old Charles Ostrander (nicknamed Dale) nearly died off the coast of Long Beach, Washington, on Friday after a violent rip current caused him to become submerged under water for several minutes while he was on a trip with his church youth group. The reason he survived? A brave 12-year-old girl boogie boarding nearby braved the treacherous waves to come to his rescue, reports the Associated Press.
Nicole Kissel had been swimming with her father when she heard Dale's cries, and (against her father's wishes) swam into the rip current on her boogie board, rescuing Dale from going under. Soon after, a massive wave hit the duo, throwing them both from the board. Nicole was able to get back to shore, but Dale disappeared. Nicole’s father, Shannon, also helped to rescue a second boy caught in the current with Dale.
Volunteer rescue swimmer, Eddie Mendez, 34, was called and rushed into the ocean, where he found Dale floating two feet under the water. Nobody is sure how long Dale was under, but Mendez said it took about 15 minutes to get him out of the ocean after the rescuers were dispatched.
Mendez dragged the boy's lifeless body out of the ocean and drove his body to the beach, where emergency responders tried to revive him. "He was white-pale and face down," Mendez told the AP.
According to Dr. Mark Morocco, an emergency room doctor not involved in Dale’s care, the boy looked dead when he emerged from the surf. "But you have to ignore the fact that he looks dead and give CPR," he said. Shortly after reaching the hospital, Dale's pulse returned.
Dale is now out of the ICU but will remain in the hospital for a while longer. He can't yet get out of his hospital bed and will require speech and physical therapy. While doctors have cautioned his parents that he may have permanent brain damage, they’re just happy he's alive. And thankful for the quick response of a little girl who allowed for their son’s miraculous survival.