Boy’s shoes lead to underwater rescue after family boat impact

A mum credits the brightly colored soles of her son’s shoes with giving the 5-year-old a chance to survive being stuck for up to 13 minutes under his family’s boat after he was hit by a barge the weekend off the shore of the Red Wing.

Vincent Koenig was slammed Monday by a spokeswoman for the Mayo Clinic hospital, Saint Marys campus in Rochester following the crash around 5:45 p.m. Friday on the Mississippi River near the Ole Miss Marina gas pier that also sent his father and three siblings into the water.

In its latest and most detailed account to date, the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office said Jeremy Koenig, 45, and three of his children were pulled from the water by other nearby boaters . However, Vincent is still missing.

It wasn’t until the disabled boat was towed to nearby Red Wing Marina that the boy “was found under the boat. [and] lifted to the dock, where the CPR began,” read a statement from the sheriff’s office.

Vincent had apparently been underwater for about 12 to 13 minutes, sheriff’s office spokeswoman Kris Weiss said Monday.

Vincent’s siblings were identified by the sheriff’s office as 11-year-old Jack; Felix, 8, and Hazel, 3. All four children were wearing life jackets, Weiss said.

“Jeremy and I and our family are living through a parent’s worst nightmare,” Rachel Koenig wrote on a Caringbridge.org webpage that she began providing updates on Vincent.

Rachel Koenig said her husband and children were out fishing when the boat stalled and was hit by an oncoming barge.

The boat capsized and “Vincent was stuck under it,” the mother continued.

“Thank goodness he was wearing orange stocking shoes,” Rachel Koenig noted. “Jeremy spotted his shoes and was able to find him.”

Vincent was transported to the dock, where cardiopulmonary resuscitation began, the sheriff’s office said.

“I was told that all the bystanders were extremely wonderful and started CPR until EMS arrived,” said Rachel Koenig.

“Congratulations to the Red Wing boating community for their response,” Weiss said of the sheriff’s office.

Vincent was taken by air ambulance to Mayo in Rochester, where authorities have yet to release the boy’s condition.

“The intensive care unit presents [medical providers] told us time will tell the extent of the damage to his neurological function,” Rachel Koenig wrote over the weekend. “Even though he said we have a marathon ahead of us, he remains optimistic. … We love this little boy so much and we can’t imagine life without his smile and laughter!”

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