Father and son were minutes from death when hero kayakers save them

Jesse Drake and his son, Taten, 6, nearly died after an overnight boating trip which went horribly wrong.

The father and son bobbed up and down in the waters of Manukau Harbour, New Zealand just over a year ago.

Jesse was exhausted and freezing with his unconscious then 5-year-old son in his arms.

Jesse's wife Angela was across the city at a baby shower, as the couple were expecting their second child which was due in six weeks time.

The father and son duo enjoyed their first overnight outing on their new 7-metre boat alone.

The pair battled for survival for 40 minutes after the youngster fell overboard and his dad jumped in after him.

With the combination of current and wind their boat became out of reach.

Jesse said: "As much as there were definitely doubts, and even when I could feel he was unconscious, there was still part of me that was 'just hang on' and hopefully someone will hear me … shouting for help.

"[And] I'm thinking of Angela at home with our unborn daughter. All that stuff that makes you just keep pushing."

Two kayakers heard the cries for help and came to the pair's aid.

One kayaker said: "The little boy, [who] I rescued in the water, sometimes I still cry because I imagine it happening to my children.

"I thought the kid was already dead, because he was really under the water and his colour, he was blue."

Once Taten was on the kayak, Jose Alibar paddled to shore to get help.

The little boy needed immediate mouth-to-mouth resuscitation before being taken by helicopter to hospital.

A doctor later told the young boys mum he might have brain damage because of Taten's "horrendously critical" condition on arrival at hospital.

Jesse, meanwhile, was so weak he had to be pulled from the water on to a second rescuer's boat.

His vision reduced to outlines punctuated by black and white flashes as he called out "my boy, my boy, my boy".

Jesse knows the piece of water they struggled in all his life as he is a long time fisher, driver and boatie.

He continued: "If I could say to anyone that runs a boat, two things: kids and lifejackets, you just don't let them take it off for any reason.

"And know how to perform CPR … if I didn't know CPR, Taten wouldn't be here."

Taten fell over board after removing his life jacket to use the boat toilet.

When he returned, because the freshwater had run out, Drake told his son to wash his hands off the back of the boat.

It was then the 5-year-old tumbled into the water.

Jesse dived in to rescue him with no life jacket on after his son had already been carried 10 metres by the current.

He added: "I got to him pretty quickly, but as I was holding him he said, 'Dad, the boat' and I knew it was ripping."

"I was just talking to him, saying 'it's all right mate, just keep swimming, keep going'. Keeping calm was probably my main thing.

"It started to turn bad when he was getting tired. He started trying to latch on to me, then it just sort of went downhill from there.

"My head would go under the water and then as I'd come up, that's when I'd breathe, yell out. We were probably going like that for a good 15 minutes, where I'm just bobbing in and under the water trying to keep him up so I could yell out and wave out."

"If it was just me, I probably wouldn't have made it but having him there I tried a bit harder. I think that we kept each other alive," he added.

A Coast guard volunteer told the family it was "very,very rare" for people to survive the situation the pair had found themselves in, especially in Manukau Harbour.

Nationwide, 74 people died in preventable drownings last year, including six children aged between 5 and 14, and seven people in tidal waters, according to Water Safety New Zealand.

For the latest breaking news and stories from across the globe from the Daily Star, sign up for our newsletter by clicking here.

Source: Read Full Article