A 12-year-old boy, who was not expected to survive after he spent 20 minutes immersed in the Pacific Ocean before he was rescued, is making an amazing recovery in a Portland Hospital.

Charles "Dale" Ostrander was visiting the southwest Washington coast with members of his church youth group last Friday, when he was caught in a riptide north of Long Beach. Rescuers finally found Dale and brought the boy's limp body ashore. Damian Mulinix, a photographer for the weekly Chinook Observer who chronicled the entire incident through his lenses, said that Dale didn't have any vital signs and was "literally" dead for 20 minutes.  

"I've been doing this since 1978. It's something you never get used to, but I knew that the boy was gone, absolutely gone," Doug Knutzen, a part of the volunteer surf rescue team, told the Oregonian.

Aid workers tried to resuscitate Dale, while his friends knelt on the beach and prayed.

"They were crying, face-down on the ground, praying - it was a heart-wrenching scene," said Mulinix.

After about 10 minutes of CPR, Dale was rushed to the Ocean Beach Hospital in Ilwaco, Wash. From there he was flown to OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland where he was in coma. On Sunday night Dale opened his eyes and was eased off sedatives. On Monday, when his parents encouraged him to cough to clear his throat, Dale uttered his first words: "I don't have to."

Dale's parents consider their son's recovery a "miracle" as doctors had told them that their son might not survive.

"The doctors were very clear that he had been under for too long and that too without oxygen," said Kirsten Ostrander, Dale's mother.

Doctors have warned Dale's parents that even if Dale survives, he could have permanent brain damage. However, the Ostranders maintain undeterred faith in God despite all odds.

"We trust (God) no matter what, and if He chooses to take Dale to heaven, and if He still chooses that, then He's still good," said Kristen Ostrander. "And if He chooses to bless us and give us back our son, He's still good."