A seven-year-old boy was called a hero after swimming for an hour to save his father and little sister who were stuck in the river due to strong currents.
At the start of Memorial Day weekend, Chase Poust went out with his father, Steven, and sister Abigail, who was four. They took a boat and anchored it in the St. Johns River, close to Mandarin Point in Jacksonville, Florida.
The father of two had planned to do a little bit of fishing while his two kids played and swam near the boat. Although Steven had underestimated the strength of the current, it didn’t take long for seven-year-old Chase to see that Abigail, who was wearing a life jacket, had been swept away from the boat.
“The current was so strong that my sister — she usually hangs out at the back of the boat — and she let go. So, I let go of the boat and grabbed her, and then, I was stuck,” Chase told WJXT.
Chase, who was not wearing a life jacket, let go of the boat in an effort to save his sister. Steven also dove into the water to try and save his daughter, but she kept drifting away. He told Chase to swim to shore.
“I told them I loved him because I wasn’t sure what’s going to happen. I tried to stick with both of them. I wore myself out. She drifted away from me,” Steven told News4Jax.
Terrified! Chase began to swim to shore. He alternated between the doggy paddle stroke and floating on his back so that he wouldn’t get exhausted keeping his head above water. He swam against the strong currents for an hour until he made it to dry land.
According to WBTV, Chase knocked on the door of the first home he saw and got help.
“I screamed for help at the top of my lungs and waved my arms and sure enough someone heard us. Little man also made it to shore and got help and that’s what saved our lives,” said Steven.
Steven and Abigail were rescued an hour later, thanks to the Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. At the time of rescue, Steven and his daughter had drifted a mile away from their boat.
As per Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department spokesperson Eric Prosswimmer, Steven and his two kids are all doing well. “We had every resource we could have possibly had coming quickly and we’re happy to say all three have been recovered, and all three are doing well. We couldn’t ask for a better outcome,” Prosswimmer said.
Thank God little Chase was able to gather all his strength and swim against the strong currents to get help when it was needed most. Otherwise, things could have taken a turn for the worse.