ABC 15 News: Family meets heroes who saved 1-year-old's life after near-drowning

Horry County, S.C. (WPDE) — A month ago Tuesday, 1-year-old Bentley Martin fell into a swimming pool. His family didn't think he would make it, but because of a group of special first responders, doctors, and nurses, his family is able to spend the holidays with him.

On Tuesday, ABC 15 News was there when the family was reunited with the crews who saved him for the first time.

"When it all happened, I didn't think he was gonna make it," said Cassie Martin, Bentley's mom.

On Sunday, Nov. 19, Cassie was doing the usual housework, and her son, Bentley, and his older brother were playing in the next room.

"Within a minute or two, I realized they were quieter than usual, because usually they're in my mom's pots and pans and I went and we saw them in the pool," she said.

It didn't look good. Cassie's step father performed CPR until EMS arrived on scene.

"The child was very cold, unresponsive and having difficulty breathing," said Matthew Oswald, Horry County Fire Station 15 firefighter and paramedic.

Bentley was taken to Mcleod Loris Hospital, flown to McLeod Hospital in Florence and, nine days later, the miracle the Martin family had been waiting for finally came.

"He was home eating Cheetos, running around the living room is what we were told after that, so hearing that news we decided to do a get together just a few days before Christmas," said Oswald.

For the first time, the heroes got a chance to see a patient they fought so hard to save.

"I've never seen anybody I've flown, so this is super amazing. It's emotional for us--I have a child that's two weeks younger than he is, so it hit home for me," said Jennifer Gray, an Air Reach flight nurse.

Bentley may not be old enough to understand what he's been through, but his family will now have a new tradition this time of year, full of pictures, videos, and the gift of a Christmas miracle to tell him all about.

"I thought it was going to be the worst one I ever had in my life, but it turned out to be the best one. That's the best Thanksgiving I ever had, right there at that hospital with him. He is truly a blessing and I'm just so glad that he's here with us for Christmas," said Lee Martin, Bentley's grandfather.

The Horry County Fire Chief awarded everyone who helped save Bentley an honorary coin, paramedics, doctors and nurses.