Kansas father and son honored for saving 4-year-old boy with autism from drowning

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The town of Lawrence, Kansas has honored a heroic father-son duo who saved a 4-year-old autistic boy from drowning in an apartment complex swimming pool earlier this month.

The little boy, Xavier Rigney, briefly slipped out of sight of his mother and fought his way through a locked fence before jumping into the pool.

“His head goes completely underwater. His mouth and nose never come up above the water, and that’s why we say they don’t have the ability to scream,” Lt. Jeff Krall, a Lawrence-Douglas County paramedic. lost a child in 2008, explained at a press conference. “What you see with his arms, you just see a bit of movement, we call it rock climbing, they’re trying to get out of the water.”

Tom Westerhouse jumped a 6ft fence, pulled the 4-year-old boy out of the water, then started performing CPR.
(Town of Lawrence, Kansas)

Maddox Westerhouse, 12, saw Xavier drown and ran to get his father, Tom, from their apartment next door.

“My friends were screaming at me to get help and I was just like, ‘Oh no’ and I ran,” Maddox said.

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Tom sprang into action, jumping the 6ft fence and then into the pool to pull Xavier out and start practicing CPR.

“When he started spitting up water and stuff, I knew that was a good sign,” Tom said, noting that he had taken a CPR course over 15 years ago, but the training came back to him at the time. “It definitely means a lot more to me to have a son myself.”

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Xavier’s mother, Alexis, reunited with Tom and Maddox for the first time on Thursday and thanked them for their heroic actions.

“He’s my best friend, so I don’t know what I would do without him,” Alexis said in tears.

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