Autistic Boy, 11, Sees 5-Year-Old Drowning While Swimming in Park, Jumps In to Save His Life

By Michael Wing
Michael Wing
Michael Wing
Editor and Writer
Michael Wing is a writer and editor based in Calgary, Canada, where he was born and educated in the arts. He writes mainly on culture, human interest, and trending news.
July 28, 2021 Updated: July 28, 2021

A mom of four has an unlikely hero to thank for saving the life of her son, who nearly drowned at a summer swimming spot mid-July.

Melanie Drake and her kids were just trying to beat the summer heat. The family from Wildwood, in northern Alberta, went up to the Rotary Park in Whitecourt, where a day of fun nearly ended in tragedy.

While tending to her 3-year-old, her 5-year-old son Bo, who was playing near the water’s edge, fell in. Melanie heard someone shout.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Melanie Drake)

“Someone hollered, ‘Grab that boy,’ and Austin, 11-year-old autistic boy, jumped in to grab him,” the mom told The Epoch Times. “A woman nearby also jumped in to assist Austin, and bring Bo to shore.”

Bo was vomiting up water, slightly blue, and on the lethargic side, the mom said. She called 911.

She and a few ladies kept Bo alert until first responders arrived, and Melanie, despite her mother’s heart “heavy with concern,” stayed calm for her family.

At the hospital, it took some time to bring Bo’s temperature up and stabilize his vital signs to normal, she said.  They spent a few hours there before being released that night.

The next day, Melanie expressed her appreciation to Bo’s helpers, posting on the Whitecourt community Facebook page. A woman named Lysa reached out and said it was her son Austin who saved Bo.

The two families met up and Melanie expressed her heartfelt gratitude to Austin for saving her little boy.

“When I first got to meet Austin and thank him for his heroic action, there were tears of joy and praise. All I could say was, ‘Because of you, I have my son.’ I couldn’t thank him enough,” she recalled.

On the spectrum, Austin normally shies away from commotion.

“So proud of him for jumping into action,” his mom Lysa told Global News in an interview. “Out of character, any other day he would have went away to somewhere quieter.”

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Melanie Drake)

Despite the tumultuous event, the next day, Bo was already back in the saddle.

“Bo was back to his regular self in the morning. Back to being the fun, active, outgoing, rough and tumble little farm kid,” said Melanie. “The incident hasn’t slowed him down. He was back swimming in his pool the following day.”

While calamity was averted this time, the mom offers a word of advice for parents and kids trying to keep cool in the summer heat.

“The only thing I can say, even when you think you have a situation under control, in a blink of eye anything can happen,” she said. “As much as we all love to cool down on a hot day, water safety is important and shouldn’t be taken lightly.”

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Michael Wing
Michael Wing
Editor and Writer
Michael Wing is a writer and editor based in Calgary, Canada, where he was born and educated in the arts. He writes mainly on culture, human interest, and trending news.