WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A Triad teenager is back home, after a scary turn of events on a family trip to the beach.
Jackson Boswell was visiting Oak Island over the Labor Day weekend. On Saturday, his family headed down to the beach. After he went to grab a beach shirt from his mother, Catherine Wadford, he went back into the water with his stepdad, Dustin Shore, and his siblings.
Not long after, he had a seizure - and went under, out of view.
"There was no riptide, the waves weren’t bad, the water was great," said Shore, "There should’ve been no reason why I shouldn’t have been able to get to him, but God kept me away from him because he knew I couldn't do nothing for him."
"Next thing I know I saw the people carrying something out of the water," explained Wadford, "It kind of caught our attention and I was trying to see through everybody’s tents because it was crowded.
"Then I saw his swim shirt and I was like the panic setting and I realized it was Jackson. Immediately started running down the beach screaming that’s my child! That’s all I could really get out at that point."
Wadford said people had already crowded around her son - trying to help. The group included two nurses and an off-duty firefighter. One of the nurses, from Greensboro, started CPR to revive Jackson.
"When he originally came out he had no pulse and was not breathing," she said, "But probably three to five minutes after starting compression, he came back to life and started spewing up water - I think he swallowed the whole ocean."
First responders took Jackson to New Hanover Regional Medical Center. His family says it was about an hour away from Oak Island. Hooked up to a ventilator, his mother prayed for a stronger sign of hope.
The next day, Wadford tells WFMY News 2 the hospital told the family they were going to take him off the ventilator to breathe on his own. While in the room talking with him, and squeezing his hand, Jackson opened his eyes.
"He opened his eyes and he looked at me, and I said look down at the end of your bed. His stepdad was standing down there, and he looked down at the end of his bed and he locked eyes with a stepfather and that’s when we knew," she said, "He couldn't say he knew it was us at that point but we knew it by the way he looked when he looked at us."
Before heading home, Jackson met some of the heroes who helped him - like the Oak Island Water Rescue squad. His family is now in touch with several of the other people who helped save his life on the beach.
Reflecting now, they're grateful - praising God for the Good Samaritans who were in the right place, at the right time, when they needed them most.