FAIR OAKS, Calif. - It can happen in a split second; when a child falls into a pool or spa and isn't able to get back out. That split second happened to Dwight and Crystal Johnson and their 3-year-old son Mason in March.
"We noticed that it got quiet, you didn't hear any rusting," Crystal Johnson said. "We ran to the pool and discovered him at the bottom of the pool, face down."
Mason was under three feet of water, in the bottom of the family spa.
Sacramento Metro Paramedics were at the Johnson's Fair Oaks home within minutes.
"I begged them," Crystal Johnson said. "Saying, 'Please, please don't give up on my son. Please, I can't lose my son.' And he looked right at me and said, 'Ma'am, I'm doing everything that I can'."
Paramedic Mike Binion was working on Mason.
As Binion fought back tears, he said, "I don't even know how to describe it. He was so cold, limp and pale. He was deader than dead."
But miraculously alive.
On Tuesday morning, the same firefighters and paramedics that came to rescue Mason, met the 3-year-old just days after he got out of the hospital. The men brought the ambulance, a fire engine, a toy engine and stuffed animals for Mason.
Crystal Johnson hugged each of them, thanking them through tears. The firefighters and paramedics fought tears back too.
"You will forever be a part of our family after what you did," she told firefighter Eric Komulainen.
Through tears, she later said, "I will never forget them doing chest compressions on my son for 22 minutes. It was so scary."
Mason spent 29 days at UC Davis Medical Center, more than half of it on life support. Expecting severe brain damage, no one thought he would survive.
"I remember the first time we came up and saw him," Binion said to Mason's father. "I have goose bumps talking about it now. It's crazy."
Mason still has a long road to recovery with speech, feeding and physical therapy starting now.
"I was the parent that said that would never happen to me, and it happened so fast," Crystal Johnson said. "You can never be too safe."
A month after a near drowning, paramedics and firefighters get to meet the 3-year-old boy whose life they saved. (Tuesday, April 15, 2014) News10