Good samaritans save teen from near drowning at Oak Island

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OAK ISLAND, NC (WWAY) — A Winston-Salem teen is lucky to be alive after he nearly drowned at a Brunswick County beach over Labor Day Weekend.

The teen’s family says this is a case of the right people being in the right place at the right time. The nurse who revived him told WWAY if this had happened 10 or 15 minutes later, she would have been gone.

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“If God had not placed the people strategically on the beach on Saturday at Oak Island, our child wouldn’t be alive,” the teen’s mom said. “We would be planning a funeral, not planning on going home.”

17-year-old Jackson Boswell and his family were enjoying a day at the beach when a terrifying string of events happened on Oak Island.

“Our 17-year-old came up to ask to put his swim shirt on,” Jackson’s mom Catherine Wadford said. “I put his swim shirt on him and we were kind of laughing, and he was then going back out to the water to his stepfather and his siblings.”

Jackson suffers from epilepsy. As he was entering the water, he suffered a grand mal seizure.

“I saw him hit the water walking in towards me, and our other son said he couldn’t touch the ground,” said Jackson’s stepfather Dustin Shore. “By the time I turned around to pick him up and turned back around, that’s when it all happened.”

As Shore fought the current trying to reach his stepson, bystanders saw his lifeless body in the water and pulled him out. Meanwhile, Jackson’s mom was on the beach unaware of what had happened.

“I saw people coming out of the water with something in their hands, and then I saw the color of the swim shirt and realized that was my child,” Wadford said. “And so I just immediately started running toward the water and I was screaming ‘that’s my child!'”

Off-duty nurse Holly Quinn from Greensboro was spending time at the beach with her own family and happened to be right there. She and her mother, also a nurse, jumped into action.

“They pulled him up to the sand, like far enough away from the water to where he wasn’t submerged, and kind of dropped him at my feet and I just started compressions,” Quinn said. “I mean he was not breathing, he did not have a pulse.”

After minutes of compressions came a sign of life.

“He immediately started expelling water and we realized that he had a pulse back,” Wadford said.

Emergency crews arrived and transported Jackson to New Hanover Regional Medical Center where he has been recovering. His family says they are forever grateful for what they call a miracle.

“We are very thankful for Oak Island rescue, we’re very thankful for the Oak Island community,” Wadford said. “All the people that were at the beach this weekend played a huge role in his recovery.”

“Thank you is not a big enough word for saving our son,” Shore said.

Jackson was taken off a ventilator on Sunday and is breathing on his own. His family says he’s a little disoriented, but he is definitely on the road to recovery.

Wadford says she will continue to update the community on Jackson’s condition through the Oak Island Water Rescue Facebook page.