Hero Father and 12-Year-Old Son Rescue Neighbor’s 3-Year-Old Autstic Boy Drowning in Pool

Om May 18, Xavier Rigney, who was turning 4-years-old, almost didn’t make it. But thanks to observant kids and a local dad, little Xavier is alive and doing well.

The child from Lawrence, Kansas, slipped away from his mom’s view and somehow found his way through a locked fence at an apartment complex and jumped into the pool.

Image Source: YouTube

Xavier, who has autism and is non-verbal, does not know how to swim, and he was all alone in the pool area when he ran to the edge and plunged into the water without hesitation.

Image Source: YouTube

Thankfully, a few kids nearby saw the child disappear under the water and immediately jumped into action.

There is also a video of two kids clinging to the pool fence. One is trying to climb over it. The other ran for help.

One of the boys, 12-year-old Maddox Westerhouse, ran off to grab his dad, who was in a nearby apartment.

“My friends were yelling at me to go get help and I just went like, ‘Oh no,’ and ran,” Maddox said, according to KSAZ-TV.

Tom, Maddox’s dad, quickly ran to the pool, jumped the fence, as both gates were locked, and jumped into the water.

Image Source: YouTube

After lifting the limp child out of the water, Tom began CPR on the unresponsive toddler.

Image Source: YouTube

“When he started to cough up water and everything, I knew that was a good sign,” Tom said. “It definitely hits home a lot harder having a son myself.”

First responders soon arrived and began providing medical treatment, but in their book, Tom and his son Maddox are the real heroes!

“His head goes completely under the water,” said Lt. Jeff Krall, of the Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical.

Image Source: YouTube

“His mouth and nose never come up above the water, and that’s why we say they don’t have the ability to scream.

Image Source: YouTube

“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.”

Image Source: YouTube

On May 26, the Lawerence, Kansas Police Department held a special reunion for the heroes and little Xavier in which they recognized the father’s and son’s life-saving heroics.

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“He’s my best friend, so I don’t know what I would do without him,” said Xavier’s teary mother, Alexis, per KSAZ.

Image Source: YouTube

“Today, we recapped the events of that call in hopes of raising awareness of water safety in advance of the holiday weekend,” the police department posted.

“A 12-year-old boy noticed a toddler floating in the pool and alerted his father. The man jumped the locked fence, pulled the unresponsive toddler from the pool, and administered life-saving aid. The 4-year-old boy was breathing and alert when paramedics arrived. This is an amazing outcome.

“Watch the surveillance video and see for yourself. Too often, this is not the way these calls end. Today, we recognized two local heros. Way to go Maddox and Tom!”

You can watch a news report about this heartwarming story below.

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  1. “Hero Jumps Fence, Leaps Into Pool to Save Age-4 Boy with Autism from Drowning” Western Journal. Amanda Thomason. June 10, 2022.