OAK HARBOR, Wash. - On Saturday, June 7th, Kari Kiser received one of the worst phone calls of her life from a police officer.
"He said you need to get to the hospital, but they wouldn’t tell me what was going on," said Kiser.
Kiser learned her 13-year-old son Daniel had been swimming with friends at Little Cranberry Lake in Anacortes when he became tired. As Daniel was struggling to make it to shore, his friends were not able to help him. The exhausted teen went under.
Jedd Larson and Brandon Krause were at the lake and so was Micheal Smith.
"At first I just heard them screaming for help," said Larson.
Smith added, "his buddies were screaming, 'he hasn’t come back up.'"
The men jumped into the murky waters which they said were about 10-15 feet deep. They spotted the teen.
"I could see Daniel’s arms floating," said Smith.
"I swam down to where he was... and swam him up to the surface," said Larson.
Daniel, who had been under water for about ten minutes, was unconscious and not breathing when they reached shore.
"I remember yelling when these guys were doing CPR, yelling, 'come on, just keep going,'" said Krause.
"We rolled him on his side and he spit out water, and that’s when he started breathing," said Larson.
Daniel was flown to Seattle Children's and placed in the intensive care unit. The first few days did not look good, but he battled through pneumonia and an infection and got better.
Today he's out of the hospital and back at home. This weekend Daniel will celebrate his 14th birthday, and his mother has invited his rescuers to the party.
"My kid wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for them," said Kiser as she wiped away tears. "I am just so grateful that they were there, and I can't say thank you enough. They are part of our family now."
Micheal Smith started a fundraising site to share details of the rescue and seek help for Daniel's family as they deal with his recovery.