My Near Drowning Experience

In 1950 I almost drowned while swimming in the ocean at Waianae beach in Hawaii. It was late in the evening and the gentle waves were churning the sand and water into a fuzzy white mix. The water receded back into the ocean as quickly as it arrived. The sea was a little rough for a little tike like me, but hey! I am 8 years old and going on nine, I wasn’t afraid of the water. Minutes later, I would be fighting for my life. I had the whole beach to myself. I threw my mini surfboard into the receding waters, running after it while trying to jump onto the board to slide into the waves. It was fun, until a wave larger then I was, picked me up, and dragged me into the sea. Unknown’s to me, that portion of the beach was famous for its undertow (Rip Tide). No matter how hard I swam toward shore, the current just pulled me further out to sea. To me, the most terrifying part of drowning was treading water and fighting to stay afloat , and not swallow any sea water. After a short time of struggling, and too exhausted to continue, I let myself be taken by the ocean. As I sunk slowly to the ocean floor, I felt very calm and was not swallowing water like I thought I would. There was no panic or pain, just a peaceful feeling of warmth and love. To my surprise, I could see and even breathe underwater. A strange but beautiful light suddenly engulfed me. The light was so bright and beautiful, it did not blind my eyes. I could look directly into the light without squinting. I could heard music, which sounded like angels singing and felt the presence of people around me whispering, but could not see them. I thought to myself, am I dead?, is this the way you feel when you die? I had no comprehension about time or how long I was in this state of mind. I felt safe and protected in a place that I knew nothing about. I was only 8 years old and had no experience about life, but this is where I wanted to be. The peaceful presence of my well-being, was so euphoric, a feeling I have never felt since. When the current swept me away from the beach, I estimated being at least100 plus feet from the shoreline. Then, without warning, a large wave tossed my limp body onto the shore, landing on my stomach which forced volumes of water out of my lungs. I gasped for air all the while spitting out ocean water. I don’t know how long I was underwater drowning to the time I was tossed back onto the beach. The abrupt landing on the beach had slowly brought me back to reality. Upon realizing what just happened, I slowly regained my senses and made my way above the waterline. I was just a young kid with hardly any experience in life, however, when I regained my senses, I was very disappointed. I knew. I wanted to go back to where I was.

The beach was still very deserted, with the sunset closing out the day. It was not in my destiny to die that day. After recovering from my ordeal, I trudged my way back to my family’s camp which was in the bush, and out of sight from where I almost drowned. I did not reveal as to what happened to me until about twenty years later.

Today, I have a beautiful wife, son, daughter, and three wonderful grand children. Sad to say, my beloved son, John, have since, been recalled to heaven. I survived for a reason I know now. God has a plan for everyone, so I lived that day and will join my son when my mission here on earth is completed.

Even today, it amazes me, as to how I got back to the beach when I was so far out in the ocean. Maybe I got some help from my guardian angel, who knows for sure.

This is an excerpt from one of my 50 chapters from my memoirs that I just completed, and am presently searching for a publisher.  

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4 Responses Jan 31, 2011

I loved reading this.

It's been seventeen years since my near - drowning. I finally decided to look - up other cases in order to find more about other cases. And, here I am telling you what happened to me on August 6, 1996. I went fishing at a local lake near Coeur d' Alene, Idaho. I arrived around 8:00 - PM. The road leading to Fernan Lake was an old Loggers road; quite small; however, just enough room for two passing cars. I parked my car, looking below to see if anyone else was fishing the ten feet below. As no one was there, I decided to back my car up to get more off the roadway. In that instant, the next thing I knew, I was drowning in water. Knowing I was in my car, I gave a few attempts at grabbing at the drivers door. Just then, lights went out, only black. The next thing I know, I was in the hospital. As days went by, I decided to see what all took place. I found out that a gentleman by the name of Terry Pratt had rescued my life. So, I went to see him in order to get his thoughts of what actually took place. He told me that he went fishing with his dad, just around the next bend of where I was parked. He looked up and thought he saw a car roll into the lake. He dropped what he was doing, drove over the where I went into the lake and found my truck under water. My truck door was resting against the lakes floor, so he was standing on my passenger door as he looked into my truck. He thought he saw someone lying on the floor of the drivers seat. He broke the window but could not reach me. He then went to the rear truck window, where he then proceeded to brake it. Luckily, he had a knife on him, as he needed to cut off my seat-belt. He pulled me out the rear window, then started pulling me up the ten or so feet up to the road. A passer-by saw what he was doing and gave help. The passer-by took one look at me (I looked dead and white as a sheet) and said, "I'm out of here, he's dead." So, Terry began CPR. Someone had called for an ambulance. As I began to awake in the hospital, I complained about all that was going on and decided to leave. So, at around 9:00 AM, I left the hospital. My recovery was long and hard. It felt like some one had taken all of my energy out of me. As a retired Firefighter with the County of Los Angeles Fire Department, I was in very good shape; going to the gym on a daily basis. I lifted weights, ran long distance, and road my mountain bike (almost) every day. Yet, after my near - drowning, I could not do anything without be exhausted. Even after a good night sleep, I's walk downstairs and have to lay on the couch to rest. I'd get up, walk outside to work in the yard, put on my shoes, then have to go back inside to rest again. This took me out of action for at least one month. During that time, I had a couple of memory loss incidents. So, I went to see a doctor to see why. At the end of his diagnosis, he told me, "You will probably only flip burgers for the rest of your employment life," as your brain lost blood supply for nearly four to six minutes while under water. I was shocked to say the least. Having just moved to Idaho one year earlier, age forty - five, I had too many years left to work. Anyway, after some time went by, I earned my Bachelor Degree, earning 'Magna *** Laude' for my high 3.80 - GPA. And, I even made the rank of Fire Chief with a couple of fire departments. As I look back, I have taken my near - drowning for granite. I still feel as though this never took place. Why me, what am I "really" here on Earth for? What is my purpose in life? I still have memory loss, but hide it the best way I can; writing a lot of notes in order to remember what to do next. At the end of the day, I still have to thank Terry Pratt for all that he did for me on August 6, 1996. WHAT IS YOUR STORY???

Thanks for your story as you are helping me to realize I, too, had a similar experience. I had just turned 2 yrs old and accidentally fell off the end of a boat dock into deep water. <br />
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What I recall is ultimate peace and tranquility while sitting under the water on the bottom of the lake. It was as though I could easily breathe and see under water without any struggle or pain which seemed like a "beautiful normal" to an adventurous 2 yr old. I can still remember the warmest and brightest light glowing on the most vivid underwater colors engulfing the most comforting experience of my 58 year lifetime. There was no fear or panic, just bliss, I recall.<br />
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The neighbor's black standard poodle apparently retrieved my straw hat that had floated ashore, alerting family to my disappearance. (Poodles are natural water retrievers.) My little unconscious body was retrieved by my father and brought to shore with the poodle's panic barking, although I never had a memory of the rescue effort. <br />
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That large black poodle is my angel....and I remember gladly letting that same black poodle chew up and swallow my little red cotton sock, stealing it off my foot.:)) With that, there began my strongest lifelong kinship to poodle dogs. BTW we have 4 standard poodles.<br />
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Perhaps being a little envious of those who had successfully died and crossed over, I grew up with an odd fascination of death and burial grounds, along with psychic sensitivities. This experience was a blessing in my life, as I fear not death or water.

I can relate so well to your story. A very familiar event happened to me when I was all of five years old. I fell into a river and was quickly pulled down by the current. Like you I felt a wave of calm, I could see the bubbles from the air escaping from my lungs rising to the surface and at the same time I could see myself from above looking down upon my body sinking into the abyss, it was unbelievably peaceful experience to which no fear was present. I was pulled from the river by my father and revived but I can remember the disapointment I felt being back; so much of me wanted to return to that state. Like you, I was brought back for a reason and like you have no fear of where we do go once we pass on.