John Smith played with two friends in January 2015 on the frozen Lake Sainte Louise in St. Charles, Missouri.
Suddenly the ice cracked beneath them and the three boys dived deep into the water below zero.
John's two friends managed to escape, but the then 14-year-old sank to the bottom and was submerged for 15 minutes.
First responders rushed him to St Joseph Hospital West and tried to revive him for nearly 45 minutes, but they were unsuccessful and he was declared dead.
But like his mother, Joyce, cried and prayed over his body – John's heart started beating again.
The incredible story has been a blockbuster movie starring Chrissy Metz and John, now 18, hopes that his journey will inspire others to believe in miracles themselves.
John Smith, 18 (left and right), fell in January 2015 in a frozen lake in St. Charles, Missouri, and was 15 minutes under water. First responders tried to revive him for nearly 45 minutes, but were unsuccessful
His mother, Joyce, started praying over his body and a few minutes later his heart started beating again. Pictured: John in the hospital
Joyce was preparing to pick up her son when she received a call from a friend who informed her of the accident, she said CBN.
Doctors said they couldn't do anything anymore and told her she could go and see him.
& # 39; (I) walked to the end of the bed and felt his feet, how cold and gray they were & # 39 ;, she said PEOPLE.
& # 39; I remembered my entire life in the church that I heard this text that says, "The Holy Spirit will raise Christ Jesus from the dead."
Joyce, now 68, said she was kneeling over her son's body, crying and praying and asking God to & # 39; give me my son back & # 39 ;.
She says that John started beating again a few minutes later.
Doctors told Joyce and John's father, Brian, that the teenager had extensive brain damage and had organ failure.
They told the Smiths that there was a one percent chance that John would survive the night, and if he did, he would probably be in a vegetative state for the rest of his life.
Yet John recovered slowly and, 16 days after he landed in the hospital, he walked out – astonishing the medical community and sowing his family's seeds even more intensely.
This is not the first example of someone being declared dead to come back to life later & # 39 ;.
Doctors told Joyce and John's father, Brian, that the teenager had extensive brain damage and had organ failure. Pictured, from left to right: John, Brian and Joyce
John began to recover slowly and 16 days after he landed in the hospital, he walked outside. Pictured: John Smith poses with first responders during an initiation ceremony in the Lake Saint Louis Community Association in March 2019
In Poland, a 91-year-old woman woke up 11 hours after telling the family to her family that she had died in a mortuary. BBC.
In 2014, a 78-year-old man who was declared dead woke up in a funeral home in a body bag in Mississippi. The Guardian.
Such cases are known as Lazarus syndrome, when circulation returns spontaneously to the body long after the resuscitation has stopped.
The syndrome refers to Lazarus, the man who is said to have risen from the dead according to the New Testament.
According to Medical news today, Lazarus syndrome was first reported in the medical literature in 1982 and there are at least 38 reported cases.
Doctors don't know for sure why the rare phenomenon occurs, but there are some theories.
One is that resuscitation builds up pressure in the chest and, when resuscitation stops, it goes down and the heart restarts, according to a 2016 article.
Another is that the dead person only looks dead and in fact suffers from catalepsy, a neurological condition where the muscles become stiff and in whatever position they remain, slowing breathing and a heartbeat is almost undetectable.
The phenomenon is known as Lazarus Syndrome, which is when the bloodstream returns spontaneously to the body long after CPR has stopped. At least 38 cases have been documented since 1982. Pictured: Actress Chrissy Metz, left, and John attend the premiere of Breakthrough
The incredible story has turned into a blockbuster movie Breakthrough by starting Chrissy Metz as Joyce. Pictured: Joyce, played by Metz, by John & # 39; s next to in the hospital
Today, John says he has no memory of the accident and has done no permanent damage.
He told PEOPLE that he was struggling to try to figure out how he survived the ordeal.
& # 39; I had to answer the question & # 39; Why me? & # 39; & # 39 ;, he told the magazine. & # 39; Over time and a lot of prayer and mentoring, I finally saw that God is the only way to get through something like that. & # 39;
His story is the inspiration behind the new film Breakthrough starring Chrissy Metz from NBC & This is Us as Joyce and 15-year-old Marcel Ruiz from One Day At A Time as Netflix.
The breakthrough, produced by 20th Century Fox and distributed by Disney, comes on the heels of other Christian-themed films, such as unplanned and Heaven Is For Real.
& # 39; I've always loved real stories. We all want something to believe in it, & Met 39 said Parade.
& # 39; We hold onto hope through the tortuous path of life, and on the other side of traumatic events we come across stronger and more compassionate and closer to ourselves, our families, and our communities. & # 39;
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