Boy Who Survived Rip Tide Meets 12-Year-Old Rescuer, Condition Upgraded

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On Monday, those same doctors who feared Ostrander would not survive, were able to remove the breathing tube that had been keeping the boy alive, leaving friends and family even more amazed at his recovery.

"This is a miracle from God because it goes against the laws of nature," Minge, the Ostrander family's pastor, said.

Dr. Benjamin Abella, director of clinical research in the Center for Resuscitation Science at the University of Pennsylvania, said Ostrander's survival may be due to the fact that the waters in which he was submerged were sufficiently frigid.

"A number of studies have shown that hypothermia -- reduced body temperature -- is highly protective of the brain when it is starved for oxygen and blood flow," Abella said. "The water that bathed him was certainly quite cold, and it's likely that his core body temperature dropped during his cardiac arrest event."

Abella said Ostrander's age and overall health may have also been factors in his survival.

"There have been a number of reported cases where people have been rescued from icy water and restored to health," he said. "These cases are not common, but they aren't as rare as one might think."

Despite the amazing survival story, doctors continue to caution the Ostranders that their son faces a difficult road ahead of physical therapy, and could have permanent brain damage.

The physicians "were very clear that he had been under for too long, had been without oxygen for too long," Kirsten Ostrander said, adding, "We trust (God) no matter what.

"If he chooses to take Dale to heaven, and if he still chooses that, then he's still good," she said. "And if he chooses to bless us and give us back our son, he's still good."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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