Aleteia logoAleteia logoAleteia
Monday 20 May |
Saint of the Day: Mary, Mother of the Church
Aleteia logo
Inspiring Stories
separateurCreated with Sketch.

Did baptism miraculously save this drowned boy’s life?

Montagem com um pai pulando na piscina para salvar o filho

Montagem / Reprodução Youtube

Ricardo Sanches - published on 10/15/23

While first responders worked, the boy's older brother was on his knees at the edge of the pool praying to God for his little brother’s life.

The story of Heitor Nagel, a four-year-old Brazilian boy, is making the news in Brazil and beyond. The boy fell into the brand-new swimming pool at his home in Joinville, Santa Catarina (Brazil), and drowned. According to video from the home’s security camera, he remained underwater for around 11 minutes.

Half an hour without breathing

The boy’s father noticed an unusual silence in the house and went out to investigate. Upon seeing the boy in the water, he ran and jumped into the pool to save him. “When I saw him in there, I didn’t think anything of it, I ran as fast as I could, got him out of the pool and started first aid, but he had no pulse, his pupils were dilated, he was all purple,” said Jean Paulo, Heitor’s father, to a Brazilian TV network.

The boy spent around 30 minutes without breathing. Meanwhile, his older brother remained on his knees at the edge of the pool, praying for his little brother’s life. “I just asked for help, not to let him go without me telling him I loved him,” he said.

One of the rescuers who attended to Heitor confirmed that the boy had stopped breathing, had no reflexes, and was showing signs of brain death.

The first responders managed to get the boy breathing again, and put him on oxygen immediately. Then, they took the boy by helicopter to hospital. There, the doctors told the family that the child’s condition was extremely serious and that if there were no signs of brain activity within 72 hours, they would declare the boy brain dead.

A miracle?

A few days before the accident, Heitor’s mother had commented to one of the boy’s aunts that he had not yet been baptized and that she would like the boy to receive the sacrament. When the aunt heard about the tragedy, the woman asked a priest to go to the hospital.

According to Gaudium Press, Heitor was baptized in the presence of his mother and Sister Elizabeth, a nun who is the director of the hospital.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Gaudium Press (@gaudiumpress_pt)

In the hours after he received baptism, the boy’s vital signs and neurological responses began to normalize. He woke up and was lucid.

He asked what had happened, and then began to remember everything. According to his relatives, when he woke up from his coma he wanted to get out of bed. As soon as the tubes were removed he got up and walked to the bathroom.

Complete recovery

The boy’s parents said that he was still in hospital for eight days for tests. The results surprised even the doctors: Heitor had no sequelae whatsoever. He has made a complete recovery. Videos from after he left the hospital show the boy happily meeting the firemen and EMTs who had given him first aid.

“For me, it was God. There’s no other explanation than a miracle,” said the father.

The video below is in Portuguese, but the first few minutes — video of the event taken from the family’s security camera in the pool area — need no words. You can see the father run and dive into the pool and start CPR while the older brother kneels nearby and prays. It’s intense. If that’s difficult for you to watch, you might want to skip to minute 7 where the boy, completely restored to health, gets to play with the ambulance siren and receives a toy fire truck from the firefighters.

BrazilInspiring storiesMiracles
Enjoying your time on Aleteia?

Articles like these are sponsored free for every Catholic through the support of generous readers just like you.

Help us continue to bring the Gospel to people everywhere through uplifting Catholic news, stories, spirituality, and more.

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.