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Rescuers call boy's survival a miracle

Published On: May 17 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: May 17 2013 10:08:10 PM CDT

A three-year-old boy almost drowns in Jordan Creek in Allentown on Thursday but rescuers who managed to pull him out and resuscitate him are saying it's a miracle he survived.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

A three-year-old boy almost drowns in Jordan Creek in Allentown on Thursday but rescuers who managed to pull him out and resuscitate him are saying it's a miracle he survived.

“I came over here. I'd seen the mother. She was hysterical...screaming. And I asked her where the baby fall at? where did he fall? What side,” said Edwin Aponte who was playing baseball with his sons when he heard the commotion.

Aponte said the child's mother told him he had fallen on one side of the dam and was sucked into one of the tunnels.

Aponte said he jumped into the water and with the help of another man, began searching for the boy.

“I said listen, hold my feet. don't let me go 'cause if you do I'm going to get stuck in the tunnel with him,” he said.

Aponte went into the tunnel head first and after feeling around the dark murky water with his hands, was finally able to grab the child during his second attempt.

According to witnesses approximately 10 minutes had already passed.

“When I felt his arm I grabbed him. I kicked my legs so the guy could pull me back out of the tunnel and when I came out the water I told everybody I got him, I got him!” said Aponte.

It was at that moment, Allentown Police Officer Chad Mertz arrived on scene.

“He was totally unresponsive, blue, there was no sign of life at all to him,” said Mertz.

Mertz said he did chest compressions and gave the boy CPR and after several minutes he was revived, and began to cry.

“It felt like forever but shortly after that, he started to whimper a little bit and then finally he started to cry. Once he was up and crying, I held the little boy until the paramedics got there and then I carried him over to the ambulance,” Mertz said.

Officer Mertz, a father of three, said the entire experience made him appreciate his family all the more.

“They got extra hugs and kisses last night when I got home,” he said. “Personally, as a father, it's a little boy, it's a child. That's why we do the job it's not a looking for praise kind of thing, it's just that's what we're supposed to do and I wasn't going to let this little boy die.”

Officials say the boy is now recovering at Lehigh Valley Hospital.