Breaking News
More () »

5 years after 'Breakthrough' on Lake Saint Louise, John Smith uses his story to inspire

Smith was rushed to the hospital and had no heartbeat for 55 minutes, but miraculously came back to life.

Jan. 19 marks the 5-year anniversary since a St. Charles boy drowned and came back to life. The story was turned into a book and soon after, the blockbuster movie “Breakthrough.”

We’re checking in with John Smith 5 years later about what life has been like since his story was told on the big screen.

Five years ago today, John Smith fell through the ice on Lake Saint Louise in Lake St. Louis in 2015.

It’s a day John said he will mostly spend alone.

“I’m more solo that day because I’m reflecting," he said. "I’m more independent because I just, it’s such a different situation, I don’t even know how to handle it sometimes.”

John was 14 years old when the ice broke on the lake. First responders said he was underwater for 15 minutes.

Smith was rushed to the hospital and had no heartbeat for 55 minutes.

His mother was brought into the hospital room to see her son’s body and she began praying loudly.

That’s when people say a miracle happened. John fully recovered and was released from the hospital 16 days after the accident.

“That was the day my life completely changed and it was never the same after that,” John said.

He is now 19 years old and since the movie “Breakthrough” was released in April 2019, several things have changed for John.

RELATED: Local teen's miracle of survival made into motion picture 'Breakthrough'

He started college at North Central University, a Christian college in Minneapolis. He is studying to be a pastor.

Plus, there is a lot of newfound fame since the film.

“In St. Louis, just about every day I will get recognized. But up here in Minnesota, I’m pretty incognito,” he said.

John recently returned to St. Louis for Christmas break and made a huge life decision while he was home.

“I popped the question and thank God, she said yes,” John said.

He proposed to his high school sweetheart, Abby, at Christian High School in O’Fallon, Missouri. John said it was the place where the couple had their first kiss.

John and Abby plan to get married in Missouri in October 2020.

Plus, John said he continues to share his story as an example of faith and God’s amazing power.

He’s in class all week but every weekend John travels to churches and high schools across the country telling the story of his death and what his mother calls his “resurrection.”

As for “Breakthrough,” even more success was recently announced for the film.

Chrissy Metz, of NBC’s “This Is Us” fame, portrayed John’s mother in the movie.

Metz also performed an emotional tune for the film titled “I’m Standing With You.” The song was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song this month.

On the heels of the nomination, Universal Music Group Nashville announced the label offered Metz a record deal.

John said he became friends with Metz during filming and they keep in touch.

“Chrissy Metz and I DM on Instagram now and then. I just congratulate her on all the success she has had,” he said.

More local news:

RELATED: Proposed bill would create parental review boards for public libraries, could result in fines or jail time for librarians

RELATED: FX show 'Mrs. America' highlights St. Louis native Phyllis Schlafly and her fight against feminists

RELATED: Spotify will now make a playlist for your pet