Boy With Autism Saved By Quick Response Time, Grandmother Grateful

Posted at 7:28 PM, Apr 29, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-29 21:12:10-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (April 29, 2014) — The grandmother of a boy with autism who nearly drowned over the weekend credits his survival to emergency responders who were quick to act.

Watching Disney’s Frozen, while sipping on a blueberry drink and laughing with grandma, is all part of 10-year-old Owen Skilandis’ recovery process. But, it’s a joy that was almost lost.

On Saturday, Janet Krause said her grandson fell into the water near the Cedar Street marina in Manistee. As a grandmother, it’s a call Krause said she hoped to never get.

“I just remember screaming and my husband coming in and yelling, ‘what’s wrong?`” Krause said.

Her grandson was on a walk with his caregiver when he ran off. Krause said by the time the worker found him, he was standing on a ladder, stepping down into the water.

“She was holding onto him and calling 911,” Krause said. “She lost grip because he is very, very strong and the current took him.”

Within minutes, emergency responders arrived, but Owen was already face down in the water.

“The current was so bad that they had to pull the fire department guy out too and he was holding onto Owen,” Krause said.

Owen was airlifted to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and placed on life support.

“It really looked bad,” Krause said.  “We were preparing my daughter that we might be planning a funeral.”

Then on Monday, Krause’s prayers were answered. Owen was taken off the ventilator and began breathing on his own.

“I want to thank them (emergency responders),” Krause said. “I’m just so thankful that they were right there. ”

Krause said she also has a message to Owen’s caregiver.

“I do not blame her because he has gotten away from me, he’s gotten away from mom,” Krause said. “We’re thankful that she didn’t jump in… because if she did jump in we would be having two funerals [because of the current].”

Krause said Owen will get to leave the hospital and go home Tuesday night.