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Washington boy submerged at sea for 15 minutes returns home

September 21, 2011 |  8:56 am

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A 12-year-old Washington boy who somehow survived 15 minutes submerged in the ocean has gone home — continuing to defy gloomy expectations.

“Can you feel my smile zinging through my computer?” a family member said on a blog chronicling Dale Ostrander’s recovery after being pulled apparently lifeless from the water after being caught in a powerful rip tide Aug. 5 near Long Beach, Wash.

Soon, though, Ostrander started breathing again on his own, woke, and even spoke a little, and has steadily continued to recover. “He was dead, and now he’s not,” his mother, Kirsten Ostrander, told the Tacoma News-Tribune.

Fellow church members filled the house and yard of the Ostrander family home with pink flamingoes to celebrate his arrival home Tuesday afternoon.

Doctors say the boy still has a ways to go to reach what his parents hope will be complete recovery. Though he’s home now, he still must undergo a full schedule of rehabilitation work to improve his speech and motor skills.

But the family's blog has chronicled a steady path of improvement. On a brief trip from the hospital to the Washington State Fair, the boy pet a 3-day-old piglet and grinned and clapped to a country hoedown band.

He has worked out on weight machines, drawn and cut out small shapes and, Sunday night, began asking what he was doing in the hospital.

"We have at various times told Dale bits and pieces of what happened, basically telling him that he had had an accident at the beach but that he was safe now and in the hospital. This morning I guess he wanted more information," the family wrote.

"This will probably not be the last time Dale wonders where several weeks of his life went, but, with God's grace, we will be able to answer his questions."

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-- Kim Murphy in Seattle

Photo: Dale Ostrander. Credit: Dean J. Koepfler / Tacoma News-Tribune

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