|REEL FACE:||REAL FACE:|
Born: September 29, 1980
Homestead, Florida, USA
Born: abt 1957
Birthplace: Wichita, Kansas, USA
Born: July 9, 2003
Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
Birthplace: Sansare, Guatemala
Born: June 20, 1971
Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA
Born: July 12, 1978
New York City, New York, USA
Pastor Jason Noble
Born: August 26, 1976
Columbia, South Carolina, USA
Wentzville Fire Department Captain
Victor Zinck Jr.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Wentzville Fire Department Engineer
Born: June 2, 1954
San Mateo, California, USA
Dr. Jeremy Garrett
Pediatric Critical Care Doctor
Born: January 29, 1969
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Dr. Kent Sutterer
Born: October 3, 1971
Emergency Room Physician
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Born: abt 1949
Wentzville Fire Department Chief
"You don't expect to be in that situation," John Smith said. "We all thought that we were just going to have fun, to celebrate. It's a holiday. We'd just won a basketball game, so we were just going to have a good time, but we weren't expecting that [with] one wrong move, we would be all one second away from dying." The photo shown below of then 14-year-old John and his friends on the ice on Lake Sainte Louise was taken the night before the drowning, after the basketball game, when it was a lot colder and the ice was thicker. The next day it was in the mid-50s and the ice had melted some. In the movie, they are only shown going on the ice once, the day they fell in. -FOX 11
Yes. Our Breakthrough fact check confirms that John Smith was under water for approximately 15 minutes before rescuers, including Tommy Shine, found him on the rocky bottom of the lake and pulled him to the surface. John was in the frigid water for a total of more than 20 minutes.
This is somewhat dramatized in the movie. In The Impossible book, Joyce Smith mentions that something in Tommy Shine's spirit "prompted and almost pushed him to move in a different direction, straight toward the ice shelf." It was "a feeling as though someone were next to him guiding him." Using a ten-foot long pole with a hook on the end, he poked around the rocky bottom of the lake near the ice ledge and found John Smith. Tommy pulled John to the surface. Tommy Shine himself is never quoted talking about this spiritual nudge in the book, nor does he bring it up with his chief at the station.
In the movie, Tommy Shine (Mike Colter) is also portrayed as being an agnostic who finds faith after witnessing the miracle of John Smith surviving the drowning. However, his religion is never discussed in the book. It appears that this spiritual transformation is fictional.
Yes. "I remember the screams," Smith says. "'Call 911! I don't wanna die!'" He remembers being under water and coming up above the ice. He recalls fighting for his life and the burning sensation of the frigid water and the ice cutting his skin as he tried to climb out." He says that he tried to push ice to his friends for them to grab on to so they could get out. Josh Rieger's sister Jamie called 911, and the manager of a nearby apartment complex took over the call. You can listen to the real 911 call. In the movie, Josh's sister Jamie is not present at the lake. -FOX 11
Yes. In the film, they are just texting, but in real life, they talked on the phone after first texting. "I'd talked to him moments before he went into the water," Joyce Smith said. "In fact, he basically hung up the phone from me and the ice cracked under [him], he went under. So that was around 11:30 a.m. They called me at 11:52 a.m. to tell me." -FOX 11
In researching the Breakthrough true story, we learned that John Smith was without a pulse for about an hour. He'd spent 15 minutes under water and another 40-plus minutes without a heartbeat after he was pulled from the lake. It was during that time that he was technically dead. "No spontaneous respirations. No heart tones. In essence, he was cold and he was dead. He was gone," said Dr. Kent Sutterer, the ER doctor on duty that day. Dr. Sutterer is portrayed by Sam Trammell in the movie. -CBN
Yes. "It's helped me so much in my life," she told Inside Edition, "and I think it's the reason why I'm standing here, you know, at this incredible premiere."
No. The real Pastor Jason Noble admitted that this scene is fictional. "We've actually never been in an argument," he told KSDK News. He said that though the argument never happened, it did represent what they were going through as a church at that time.
"He's like one of my kids," added Joyce.
Yes. Doctor Garrett (Dennis Haysbert) tells the family this in the movie and it lines up with the Breakthrough true story. "Doctors told us that John wasn't going to live through the night," says Joyce Smith. Though his heartbeat had returned, John only had brainstem function and his blood oxygen levels were critical. Like in the movie, Joyce wouldn't let the doctors say anything negative in the room. It took almost 48 hours before John opened his eyes. Doctors believed that he would definitely have brain damage. They also predicted brain swelling, seizures and lung infections, but fortunately, their predictions never materialized.
"Right at an hour with absolutely no life in his body whatsoever," says Dr. Kent Sutterer, the doctor who was working in the ER the day that John was brought into SSM St. Joseph West Hospital. "A complete healing. He doesn't have any seizures. He doesn't have any neurologic deficits, all the things that we expect in these things. Nothing. He's completely the same boy that he was before." Dr. Sutterer had recognized John when he was brought into the ER because his daughter was in John's 8th grade class. -USA Today
His condition continued to improve, and on the tenth day, he was removed from the ventilator and was able to breath on his own. He was talking about three hours after that. "I'm thinking to myself, 'They're wrong. They're wrong. He has more than brainstem function, because he is looking around the room and he knows who people are. You know, God is restoring everything back to this child,'" recalls his mother, Joyce.
John was released from the hospital on February 4th, 16 days after rescuer Tommy Shine pulled him up from the bottom of the icy lake. It's true that like in the Breakthrough movie, John walked out of the hospital under his own strength. -CBN
Joyce wrote a book about her son John Smith's drowning and resurrection, titled The Impossible, which became the basis for the Breakthrough movie. As for John, he hopes to one day become a pastor.
"I see three 14-year-old boys who were being dumb on the ice and that fell through, and that the Lord saved us," says John. "And really he used it in his way to save other people, not just the three of us." -USA Today
Dive deeper into the true story behind Breakthrough by watching an interview with mother and son Joyce and John Smith. Then check out a demonstration of how to get out of the water after falling through the ice.