A weekend pool party nearly turned tragic. But a pair of Travis airmen rushed in to rescue a lifeless child.
Six-year-old Ben Boncato is at the center of this story. The first-grader explained how he went from wearing a life vest in the swimming pool to ending up at the very bottom.
"I, like, took off the vest, and I forgot that it was the deep end I was next to. And I just got on the big doughnut and then I slipped off," Ben said.
He said he spinning in circles and trying to move up in the water by jumping, but it wasn't working.
One of the kids nearby alerted Ben's mom that he was in trouble. She tried to jump in, but she couldn't reach him.
"And she starts screaming right to the pool," Staff Sgt. Edgar Hooks said.
Staff Sgt. Sean Richardson quickly took action.
"He jumped right in there, feet first, went to the bottom and that's when he realized something was really wrong. He was lying in the fetal position at the bottom of a 10-foot pool," Hooks said.
Richardson quickly pulled Ben's lifeless body out of the water. Hooks then took over.
"He was blue, grey, his eyes were facing different directions," Hooks said.
Ben's heart had stopped beating. Hooks turned the boy on his side, but nothing happened.
"I looked at his mother and said, you need to call 911 right now," Hooks said, tearing up.
He began CPR and some fluids came out.
"I knew he wasn't there, and I wasn't gonna not try to bring him back, so..." he said.
He continued with chest compressions. After about two minutes that seemed more like a lifetime -- a heartbeat.
Mom Kristine was by his side.
"'Ben, wake up, wake up. Ben. I was literally yelling because I needed him to open his eyes," she said emotionally. "And I'm so glad that he did."
"He was coming back. And the first words he said was 'mama,'" Hooks said.
"The guy who saved me, he was just, like, carrying me. I just remember that part," Ben said.
Hooks said he lifted Ben up and held him up.
"I'm thankful that it wasn't his time," his mother said.