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After nearly drowning, young Alaska boy recovering in hospital

Carey Restino | The Homer Tribune
Ten-year-old Anthony Brock is in an Anchorage hospital after being pulled out of the water in Homer, at the southern tip of Alaska's Kenai Peninsula. At the time, he showed no vital signs but he's now in stable but critical condition. Courtesy Katie Brock / Homer Tribune

It’s a mother’s worst nightmare. You are having a great time on the beach when you notice your 10-year-old son is missing. You search for him and can’t find him. You call the police. They come and scan the area. And they find him -- floating face-down in the water.

That nightmare became a reality for Katie Brock, whose son, Anthony, was rescued by Homer Police from the river that drains from the Beluga Slough into Kachemak Bay.

Homer Police Chief Mark Robl said the police department received a 911 call at 3:45 p.m. for a missing boy. Officers responded, arriving within a few minutes and conducted a ground search. They found Anthony floating face down in the stream. Officer Stacy Luck dove into the water and rescued the boy, pulling him back to shore and starting CPR. Anthony had no vital signs at that time, Robl said, but was revived after being transported to South Peninsula Hospital.

The boy and his family were transferred to Anchorage, where he has been listed in stable but critical condition. Brock said her son suffered some swelling in his brain that has since been reduced and he is showing more normal brain activity. However, he has yet to wake up and doctors are considering that a large concern, she wrote in an email.

“He is currently having a MRI to see if we can see more clearly what brain damage may have occurred,” Brock wrote earlier this week. “We are holding out for a miracle and believing God is capable to overcome these obstacles even when the world says it’s not possible.”

One interesting twist in the story came through the power of Facebook, when Brock posted that she had lost her phone on the beach with photos from a recent outing with Anthony and his father, Keith. In her rush to find Anthony, Brock said she dropped the phone on the beach. It wasn’t until hours later that she realized what she had done. A friend went down and tried to find it, but assumed it was under the water line by then. Brock wrote a post on Facebook asking for help finding the phone because of the precious photos, which she feared would be some of the last she would have of her son healthy and happy.

Paula Gallagher saw the Facebook post and went in search of the phone. A group of women were walking the beach and she met up with them and explained what she was doing.

“Within 10 minutes, one of the ladies (Nancy) shouts, ‘I found it,’” Gallagher wrote in an email. “I’m just so pleased the phone was found. I hope it is a sign that the little boy is going to make it. I give all credit for finding the lost phone to God. He made it happen.”

Brock said the pictures were so meaningful to her, and the community’s response is also heartwarming. The family’s Facebook page is filled with prayers and well wishes from friends and family far and near.

“I am forever grateful to have these pictures again,” Brock wrote.

Since the accident, the family has been at Anthony’s side and unable to work to support their family. Community members have set up an account to help with expenses at AlaskaUSA Federal Credit Union. Anyone wishing to contribute to the fund may do so by depositing in account No. 1759461. The bank’s routing number, if needed, is 325272021.

Carey Restino is a Homer Tribune reporter. Used with permission.