Moment Texas dad saves drowning little boy from swimming pool


kid saved from swimming pool

Tom Westerhaus came to the rescue and saved the life of Xavier (Picture: Lawrence Kansas Police Department)

They say heroes don’t wear capes – and this was the case with one incredible man who saved a little boy from drowning in a swimming pool.

Tom Westerhaus, from Lawrence in Kansas, jumped into action to save four-year-old Xavier’s life and performed CPR on him for nearly three minutes.

Tom’s own son Maddox, 12, alerted his dad Xavier had fallen into the pool after playing with him. And despite not being CPR trained for 15 years, this did not stop Tom jumping into action at the right moment.

Without thinking the dad jumped the fence like a superhero and dashed into the water to save little Xavier’s life.

The jaw-dropping video footage captured on May 18 shows Tom giving CPR to Xavier for exactly two minutes and 41 seconds.

Xavier’s mum, Alexis Reign, said she was grateful her son had been around people so they could alert Tom.

Alexis went to take a quick bathroom break and pick up her four-month-old daughter – but when she returned Xavier was nowhere to be found.

Recalling the moment it all happened, she said: ‘I went to the living room because he plays in the living room, that’s where the TV is, and he wasn’t there but the door was open.’


During the conference, officials released surveillance video showing 4-year-old Xavier Rigney run towards and then jump into an empty swimming pool. Several children in the area gather around the pool?s fence as the child struggles in the water. Officials say 12-year-old Maddox Westerhaus saw the toddler floating in the pool and alerted his father Tom Westerhaus. ?I just went like ?oh no? and ran,? said Maddox.

Surveillance video captured the moment Xavier was rescued (Picture: Lawrence Kansas Police Department)


During the conference, officials released surveillance video showing 4-year-old Xavier Rigney run towards and then jump into an empty swimming pool. Several children in the area gather around the pool?s fence as the child struggles in the water. Officials say 12-year-old Maddox Westerhaus saw the toddler floating in the pool and alerted his father Tom Westerhaus. ?I just went like ?oh no? and ran,? said Maddox.

Mum Alexis could not hold back the tears during a press conference (Picture: Lawrence Kansas Police Department)

‘My friends were yelling at me to go get help and I just went like ”oh no” and ran,’ Maddox added. 

What followed were moments of pure anguish, as Alexis noticed sirens and emergency vehicles approaching the building complex. 

‘I didn’t see anybody but I could see the paramedics and fire department going into the back of the building so I followed them and Xavier was being pulled out of the pool,’ the distraught mum said. 

‘But I didn’t see him moving so I didn’t know he was okay at the time.

‘I don’t know what I would have done if [Maddox] wouldn’t have been in the pool and hadn’t seen [Xavier].’

Recalling the moment of the savious, Tom said: ‘When he started to cough up water… I knew it was a good sign.’


During the conference, officials released surveillance video showing 4-year-old Xavier Rigney run towards and then jump into an empty swimming pool. Several children in the area gather around the pool?s fence as the child struggles in the water. Officials say 12-year-old Maddox Westerhaus saw the toddler floating in the pool and alerted his father Tom Westerhaus. ?I just went like ?oh no? and ran,? said Maddox.

Both Maddox and Tom were honoured with the Hometown Hero award (Picture: Lawrence Kansas Police Department)


Lawrence Kansas Police Department ondt 0 a 8 P 6 1l a 8 M 9 7g4 2 cl y M t 7 6 a : ? We responded to a drowning call at a local apartment complex, along with Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical, on Wednesday May 18, 2022. Today, we recapped the events of that call in hopes of raising awareness of water safety in advance of the holiday weekend. A 12-year-old boy noticed a toddler floating in the pool and alerted his father. The man jumped the locked fence, pulled the unresponsive toddler from the pool, and administered life-saving aid. The 4-year-old boy was breathing and alert when paramedics arrived. This is an amazing outcome. Watch the surveillance video and see for yourself. Too often, this is not the way these calls end. Today, we recognized two local heros. Way to go Maddox and Tom! Video here: https://youtu.be/cNc93EdEI9A

Mum Alexis only walked to the bathroom before she realised Xavier was missing (Picture: Lawrence Kansas Police Department)


During the conference, officials released surveillance video showing 4-year-old Xavier Rigney run towards and then jump into an empty swimming pool. Several children in the area gather around the pool?s fence as the child struggles in the water. Officials say 12-year-old Maddox Westerhaus saw the toddler floating in the pool and alerted his father Tom Westerhaus. ?I just went like ?oh no? and ran,? said Maddox.

Xavier is back to his healthy normal self (Picture: Lawrence Kansas Police Department)

For their heroic actions, Tom and Maddox have been given Hometown Hero awards on behalf of the Lawrence Fire Medical Department.

The fire department shared the heroic actions of the dad in the hopes of raising awareness about emergency situations involving life and death. 

Xavier has since made a full recovery from the incident.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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