Incredible hero saves neighbor’s autistic four-year-old son from drowning in swimming pool

This is the incredible moment a Kansas man saved his neighbor’s four-year-old autistic son from drowning by pulling him out of a swimming pool and performing CPR for nearly three minutes.

It had been fifteen years since Tom Westerhaus, of Lawrence, received CPR training, but when his 12-year-old son Maddox came seeking help for little Xavier, Westerhaus’ fatherly instincts took over .

The heroic dad rushed to his apartment complex pool and without thinking twice, jumped a fence to pull Xavier out of the water.

Breathtaking surveillance footage of the May 18 incident shows Westerhaus performing CPR for two minutes and forty-one seconds on the little boy, who is autistic and non-verbal.

“When he started spitting water…I knew that was a good sign,” Westerhaus said.

Xavier’s mother, Alexis Rigney, said she was extremely grateful Maddox played with friends around the pool and said she couldn’t imagine what might have happened if Westerhaus hadn’t saved his son.

“I don’t know what I would have done if [Maddox] would not have been in the swimming pool and had not seen [Xavier]she said in tears.

Westerhaus and Maddox have since received Hometown Hero awards on behalf of the Lawrence Fire Medical Department for their heroic actions.

At a press conference, they also met Reign and had a chance to see Xavier, who made a full recovery.

This is the incredible moment Kansas father Tom Westerhaus saved his neighbor’s four-year-old autistic son from drowning by pulling him out of a swimming pool and performing CPR for nearly three minutes.

Xavier Reign moments before jumping into his apartment complex pool

Tom Westerhaus giving CPR to little Xavier

It had been fifteen years since Westerhaus, of Lawrence, received CPR training, but when his 12-year-old son, Maddox, came seeking help for little Xavier, Westerhaus’ fatherly instincts took over.

Westerhaus and Maddox have since received Hometown Hero awards on behalf of the Lawrence Fire Medical Department for their heroic actions at a press conference where they met Reign and also got to see Xavier.

Westerhaus and Maddox have since received Hometown Hero awards on behalf of the Lawrence Fire Medical Department for their heroic actions at a press conference where they met Reign and also got to see Xavier.

The Lawrence Fire Department shared the courageous actions of the Westerhaus in hopes it would raise awareness of how immediate action can mean the difference between life and death in emergency situations.

The incident took place on May 18, after mother Alexis Reign took a short bathroom break.

Reign said she then went to pick up her four-month-old daughter, who was crying, but Xavier was nowhere to be found.

“So I went to his room and checked and he wasn’t there,” Reign said at the press conference where Westerhaus and his son were awarded.

“I went to the living room because he’s playing in the living room, that’s where the TV is, and he wasn’t there but the door was open.”

Xavier was first spotted by 12-year-old Maddox as the young boy lay motionless in the pool. According to authorities, he had been in the water for three minutes and twenty-two seconds.

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

The incident happened on May 18, after mother Alexis Reign took a short bathroom break.  Reign said she then went to pick up her four-month-old daughter, who was crying, but Xavier was nowhere to be found.

The incident happened on May 18, after mother Alexis Reign took a short bathroom break. Reign said she then went to pick up her four-month-old daughter, who was crying, but Xavier was nowhere to be found.

Xavier was first spotted by 12-year-old Maddox as the young boy lay motionless in the pool.  Authorities said he had been in the water for three minutes and twenty-two seconds.

Xavier was first spotted by 12-year-old Maddox as the young boy lay motionless in the pool. Authorities said he had been in the water for three minutes and twenty-two seconds.

Xavier was saved by Tom Westerhaus

Westerhaus was rewarded for his heroic actions

The Lawrence Fire Department shared the brave actions of the Westerhaus in hopes of raising awareness of how immediate actions can mean the difference between life and death in emergency situations.

Tom Westerhaus (right) and his son Maddox Westerhaus (left)

Tom Westerhaus (right) and his son Maddox Westerhaus (left)

What followed were moments of sheer angst, when Reign noticed sirens and emergency vehicles approaching the building complex.

“I didn’t see anyone, but I could see the paramedics and firefighters entering the back of the building, so I followed them and Xavier was out of the pool,” the distraught mum said.

“But I didn’t see him move, so I didn’t know he was okay at that time.”

Reign said anything could happen in minutes and she has since learned that children with autism are particularly drawn to bodies of water.

“A lot of kids with autism love big bodies of water, swimming pools, lakes and love the ocean. I didn’t know that until I was in the hospital, they gave me a lot of information about the autistic children,” she said.

According to the National Drowning Prevention League, children with autism are ten times more likely to drown.

Xavier has since made a full recovery, his grateful mother said.

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