Italian Boy Survives 42 Minutes Underwater

A boy, 14, jumped into a canal in Cuggiono, near Milan, Italy, and stayed underwater for at least 42 minutes, but survived.

Time notes that the Italian news site Corriere.it reported the boy and some friends jumped off the bridge into the water, which was 6 1/2 feet deep, but he did not come to the surface.

Fire department divers and others formed a human chain to rescue the unconscious boy about 42 minutes later from the 59-degree water. He did not have a pulse when he was pulled from the water.

The boy was hospitalized for a month in San Raffaele, where a life support machine fed his lungs oxygen, reported The Independent.

Amazingly, he woke up and asked his parents about his favorite soccer team.

According to Time, the body has an "automatic reflex to drop the heart rate and divert oxygen to the brain, especially in cold water, is more robust in younger children than in adults." If the brain is kept bathed in oxygen, little damage will take place. It notes: "And the colder the water, the more likely the brain is to be sustained in this way; frigid temperatures help the body divert its resources primarily to the brain."

Time added that the doctors cannot completely explain how the boy survived and did so without serious brain damage.

The boy's doctor, Alberto Zangrillo, who is also former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's physician, told the press that the boy's recovery was "the greatest satisfaction of my entire professional career," reports The Independent.

The boy had his right leg amputated below the knee because of a lack of blood circulation.

Sources: Corriere.it, Time, The Independent
Image Credit: Public Domain


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