Neighbors save an autistic four-year-old from drowning in their apartment pool. On May 18th, surveillance video captured four-year-old Xzavier Ridney running straight into the pool at the Lawrence, Kansas apartment complex where he lives with his mother, Alexis Rigney. Nobody was around and Xzavier, who has autism, sank straight to the bottom of the pool and didn’t resurface.
Fortunately, the Ridneys’ neighbor 12-year-old, Maddox Westerhaus, saw the incident and ran and got his dad, Tom Westerhaus, who rushed to the pool. Video shows Tom jumping into the pool, pulling Xzavier out and beginning CPR, which he’d learned years before as a lifeguard. After nearly three minutes, the little boy started breathing again.
First responders arrived shortly after, but say if Tom hadn’t gotten to Xzavier so early, it would likely have been a tragedy. “We’re usually on the tail end of something … and it usually has a negative outcome,” says Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Chief Rob Freeup. “This was the one that we’ll carry with us basically for the rest of our lives.”