Loveland family warns others of dangerous water after 7-year-old boy nearly drowns

LOVELAND, Colo. -- A Loveland mother can't say "thank you" enough after a stranger rescued her son while he was drowning.

Shelby Zwetzig and her 7-year-old son were at a family outing at the Big Thompson River in Loveland. The boy was playing on the steps near the river when he slipped, fell in and struggled to stay afloat.

“I turned around and in a split second, I hear a woman just shouting that there was a boy under water. And I look out and I just see his head," Zwetzig said.

The woman who was shouting, Kat Whitt, jumped into the water and saved Zwetzig's son.

“It was just [an] emergency. That’s why I jumped in," Whitt said. “I was just swimming as hard as I could to get to him as fast as I could and shove him up to the surface so he could take a breath.”

Whitt doesn't want to be called a hero or get any attention, but she did save the boy's life.

The boy says he did not think he was going to survive.

“After almost a minute, I was letting myself sink to the bottom. I was thinking how I would go to heaven, so I wasn’t panicking. I was thinking how I would go to heaven and it would be a better place than Earth, but I’m glad I got more life," the boy said. “Be careful, and I recommend if the water is on the ledge, do not step in."

Zwetzig has a warning for other parents.

"To be super careful and cautious around any body of water, especially rivers. It's no joke with how the runoff is and how high it is," she said.

The Fairgrounds Park in Loveland does have signs warning people that the water is swift. Loveland Parks and Recreation says if the water gets high enough, they'll put a fence up, but that hasn't happened yet this year.

Whitt may not want to share her face with the world, but the Zwetzig family is doing all they can to share her story of heroism.

“I’ll never be able to repay her for what she did. I owe everything to her," Zwetzig said.

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