GRANDVILLE, Mich. (WZZM) - Two drownings in West Michigan within the past week are a reminder of how dangerous the water can be.
A Grandville teenager knows the dangers better than most people, after he came close to losing his life at Ludington State Park six years ago. Dylan Silva, 17, still suffers short term memory loss from his near drowning at Ludington State Park in 2006.
"I can't believe I'm still here, so it's breathtaking," says Silva.
In 2006, WZZM 13 followed Silva through his rehabilitation. With no memory of the day he nearly drowned, Silva relies on what he's been told.
"We tied a rope to a rock to see who could hold onto the other end," says Silva.
Since the incident, Dylan says he's learned a valuable lesson:
"That one thing you do, jump off the pier, or hit a rock, or tie a rope to a rock and get twisted around your ankle and you go under, that could be the last day," says Silva.
Silva's family says the water he was swimming in was as clear as their pool. They say a lot of people make the mistake of thinking that because the bottom is visible it's safe to play around.
"You hear about other drownings and your heart goes out to them because you were there," says Silva's mother.
Silva is now on the high school swim team. His near drowning is also inspiring the rest of his family to help.
"[My] two older brothers are lifeguards, I am a lifeguard, Dylan wants to be a lifeguard, and his younger brother will be a lifeguard," says Silva's father.
"I love the water. [I] wouldn't let anything like that stop me from being on the water," says Silva.
Silva's family says he was the first person to survive a near drowning at Ludington State Park in more than three decades.