13-year-old who nearly drowned returns to the water

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SAN DIEGO — For 13-year-old Cole Wehsener returning to the ocean and swimming in the waves Wednesday was important.

Wehsener, his brother and a friend were playing on a 5-foot pile of kelp along the shoreline of Windandsea Beach on Independence Day when he nearly drowned.

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 2 22 14 PMCole said the tide came in quickly.

“A huge wave came and it lifted up all the seaweed it was like a 5 foot pile of seaweed” said Cole. “It just dumped it all down on top of us, and it was about like 400 pounds and I couldn’t get up.”
His brother and friend were able to get away, but Cole, a strong swimmer and five-year junior lifeguard, couldn’t.
“I was trying to get up and I was struggling and then I just stopped trying, and I thought that was it,” he said.
Cole was pulled from the kelp by a man nearby.  He was unconscious, not breathing and blue.  After several tries, he was resuscitated on the beach.

“This wasn’t an accident that actually happened in the water. It happened on the shoreline,” said his mom Karin.  “So many aspects of the story are little miracles that add up to my son being here today.  I’m so grateful.”

She said it can be an important lesson for all beach-goers.
“My take-away is, as a parent, just talk to your kids about the dangers that exist outside of the water,” she said. “I’m not sure I would have realized that them playing on that mound that berm of kelp would have been a dangerous thing.”
Cole said he is doing well since the accident and he too feels blessed to be here.
“(I’m) very thankful,” he said.

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