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Mother of boy trapped underwater at hotel pool speaks out

Boy in Hospital (NBC News)

You've likely seen that dramatic rescue of a young boy, who was trapped underwater in a hotel pool. Now, his mother is opening up in an exclusive interview.

For nearly 8 frantic minutes, a 12-year-old boy was trapped underwater - his left leg sucked into a hotel pool drain unable to be pulled free.

The surveillance video, which first made headlines last week, is difficult to watch.

Now speaking out in her first interview, Alyssa Pappas says her son - she asked that we not name him - spent 8 days on a ventilator – three of them in a medically induced coma.

“It's - it's been very traumatic for our family,” said Pappas. “You know, a total of three days, roughly, where you didn't even know he was going to open his eyes or what would happen once they did stop the medicine to wake him up.”

The frightening scene happened last month when his family was on vacation at a South Carolina resort.

In the unguarded swimming pool, two boys were playing and lifted a grate covering a drain. That's when one boy’s leg got sucked into a pipe and became stuck.

Now, to everyone's surprise, the young boy is home in Michigan and back at school.

“People who hear that he'd been underwater for 8 minutes say there's no reason your son should be alive today,” said Pappas. “I know that so many people prayed for him and sorry um - it's just a miracle I think.”

Pappas gives particular credit to Shaun Skursky, the family friend who gave the boy critical breaths underwater before police arrived.

“The only thing I thought of was that this little boy's been underwater too long,” said Skursky.

“The people that helped him at the pool and at the hospital and, I mean, most importantly God -- I don't know that there's any other explanation for, after 8 minutes underwater, for him to come out of that and be alive,” said Pappas.

The boy is still being monitored for long-term brain damage.

Avista Resort in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina tells NBC news it's thrilled to hear the boy is doing well.

"With the grates in place, our lazy river is safe for all of our guests,” said a spokesperson for the resort. “Evidence confirms that the boy and his companion dislodged the grate before he caught his foot in the intake.”

Pappas says he lifted the pool grate to retrieve a piece of his goggles. Their lawyer says it doesn't matter.

“Whether or not the kids were trying to retrieve something, whether or not it was a loose grate on the floor, it should not have been loose,” said attorney Michael Morse

A lawsuit is being considered, and Pappas says she's sharing her story to warn others.

“You know you're on vacation. You think you can take it easy and relax,” said Pappas. “But even with adults’ supervision, things can happen. And it happens very quickly.”

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