Signs promising for boy who nearly drowned

SNOHOMISH — The river tried to take Travis Anderson, but his mother fought back.

The 9-year-old Snohomish boy nearly drowned in the Pilchuck River July 13. He was listed Friday in stable condition at a Seattle hospital.

Travis remains in a medically induced coma, battling pneumonia, but the little boy’s future looks much better than it did just a few days ago.

His family say they are humbled and overwhelmed by the prayers and thoughtful messages being shared from Snohomish and all over the world.

“We are absolutely amazed by the support we have received from not only the hospital but from our family and from our friends in the community. It is unbelievable,” said the boy’s mother, Kim Anderson.

The family was playing in the Pilchuck near Machias. It was a sunny Friday afternoon.

Kim Anderson kept close watch over her children.

She was right next to Travis. She was snapping his photo, and the water grabbed the boy, sweeping him 40 feet downstream and under a log.

“He was standing, and then he wasn’t,” she said Friday.

She raced after him, but the river was too strong, pulling at her too.

She screamed at Travis’ older brother to lift the log that pinned her son underwater. He did, and Travis came to the surface, but the log was heavy.

The older boy held it as long as he could. Kim Anderson kept screaming for help and pulling at her trapped son. Travis’ sister ran and grabbed a passerby, who rushed to help.

The man sat on one end of the log, his weight releasing the pressure, freeing Travis.

The boy began floating, and his mother grabbed him, set him on the bank and started CPR, not stopping until firefighters took over. The older brother ran to the road to signal to emergency crews as they arrived.

Travis was rushed via helicopter to Seattle Children’s Hospital. His family says medical tests have showed little to no brain damage — a good omen for recovery.

Family members also have been posting updates on Travis’ condition on a Facebook page, Get Well, Travis. The page had nearly 750 members by Friday.

Travis’ parents are keeping vigil at the hospital, said his uncle, Seth Webster. They want Travis’ surroundings to be peaceful and quiet while he heals. The family is grateful that people understand their need for privacy.

Hospital staff are hopeful that Travis will be taken off the ventilator in the coming days, Webster said.

Travis is the youngest of three children. He is described as a high-energy, intelligent boy who loves the outdoors, lacrosse and football. His family are devout Christians.

The Andersons likely will need help paying for his medical expenses. On Friday, they still were sorting out details for how people may donate.

For now, they are finding strength in their faith and from those around them, Kim Anderson said. She’s comforted that in a parent’s worst nightmare, people have felt connected to what matters most.

The posts shared on the Facebook page for Travis also are a source of strength, Webster said.

“It certainly is a testament to the technology, but it also is a testament to how a tragedy like this can bring people together. We’ve just been surprised and overwhelmed,” he said. “We definitely want to thank people for all the love and support and for holding up Travis and the family with prayers and positive thoughts.”

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com

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