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Photo provided by the McKnight family

'God Was There That Day': Parents Reflect on Series of Miracles That Saved Drowning Daughters

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“We believe God was there that day.”

Those are the words of Jacob McKnight, the father of 6-year-old Zoey and 4-year-old Callie. Both children nearly drowned in a pool during a one-day trip from Kansas to Oklahoma.

McKnight, a pharmacist, was in Edmond, Oklahoma, with his wife, Caitlin, and their children, Zoey, Callie, and 1-year-old Elenor, staying at his sister’s home. He had just returned from a business meeting when his wife followed after Elenor, unintentionally leaving the two older girls alone.

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In the span of three minutes, the McKnights realized Zoey and Callie were unaccounted for and began frantically searching for their daughters. Soon thereafter, Jacob realized they were underwater, at the deepest part of the pool, 10 feet below the water’s surface.

It was in that time that — in retrospect — Jacob believes a series of miracles unfolded in quick succession. The water, he later learned, was murky, yet he clearly saw the girls at the bottom of the pool. And even after anxiously running around the house and yard, he still had the stamina to dive into the water to lift his 35- and 45-pound daughters from the bottom of the pool to the ground beside it, where he and his wife immediately began performing CPR on the unconscious girls.

“It was really overwhelming in the beginning,” Caitlin told CBN News. “But even from the very first moment of seeing my husband in the pool, pulling out our 4-year-old, realizing what had happened, I remember saying out loud, ‘Oh, my baby,’ and grabbing her and starting CPR. But even in that moment … [I had] this peace and this focus that just washed over me.”

“I don’t think that would be possible if God were not there, and filling me with that peace,” she added. “It was really incredible.”

Photo provided by the McKnight family

With tears welling up in her eyes, Caitlin remembered the assurance Jacob gave her as they waited in the hospital to hear how their daughters were doing. He told her with confidence he believed they would return home.

“He just felt that Word from God on his heart, saying, ‘Hey, this is a lot. Your girls are coming home,'” Caitlin said, adding, “Every time we turned around, there was something God was showing us, something He was blessing us with. Every need was met. And we didn’t even know how to process how much God was blessing us through this.”

After the girls were revived and taken to the hospital, they were immediately treated. Both kids needed assistance breathing via an ECMO machine for Zoey, which was no longer necessary after just two days, and a ventilator for Callie, who was taken off the life-support machine after five days.

Zoey did, however, suffer a stroke, likely due to the loss of oxygen while she was drowning. While both girls sustained some brain damage, they are young, resilient, and exceeding expectations in treatment.

“The physical therapy is going to go well because it already is going well,” Jacob said. “We’re two weeks into this and already Callie is about walking on her own. That is incredible. That is a miracle. And Zoey is really making strides.”

After the stroke, Zoey couldn’t move her left hand or leg, “and they’re already both mobile,” her father said.

Over the last two weeks, the McKnights have been compiling a list of miracles the Lord has performed in their lives. Already, Caitlin said, the list is two pages long — and counting.

In the time since the accident, Jacob and Caitlin have benefited from a host of acts of kindness, as church friends have traveled from Kansas to Oklahoma to pray with them, the Ronald McDonald House in Oklahoma City has opened its doors to house them, and more than 160 people have donated thousands of dollars to help them pay for the expenses associated with Callie and Zoey’s ongoing recovery.

“We’re probably going to have to move our house,” Jacob said. “We have a California split [level home], so we’re probably going to have to move to a new house.”

In all of it, though, they have been comforted by their faith in the Lord and the ways He’s ministering to them and those witnessing their young daughters’ profound recoveries.

If you would like to donate to help the McKnight family, here is a GoFundMe campaign organized to help the young family cover the numerous expenses tied to their daughters’ care. Please continue to pray for them as Callie and Zoey recover.

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About The Author

Tré Goins-Phillips Headshot

Tré Goins-Phillips serves as a host and content creator for CBN News. He hosts the weekly “Faith vs. Culture” show and co-hosts “Quick Start,” a news podcast released every weekday morning. Born and raised in Virginia, Tré now lives along the Blue Ridge Mountains, where he has built his career, often traveling to meet and interview fascinating cultural influencers and entertainers. After working with brands like TheBlaze and Independent Journal Review, Tré began his career at CBN News in 2018 and has a particular passion for bridging the chasm between the secular world and the church