A 7 year old boy is being hailed a hero for saving his father and younger sister by swimming a mile to get help over Memorial Day weekend. Chase Poust and his 4-year-old sister, Abigail, were swimming alongside their father’s anchored boat on the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Florida when Abigail was pulled away from the boat by a strong current. Chase let go of the boat to grab her but then he was stuck in the current too. Their father Steve jumped into the water to save them but little Abigail kept getting pulled further away by the current.
Steve told Chase to swim to shore as he tried to retrieve Abigail, who was being carried along with the current while wearing a floatation device. Fearing the outcome, Chase told them both he loved them and began the 1 mile swim back to land, switching between floating on his back and doggie paddling. “The current was going the opposite way of going to the boat and the shore so it was very hard to swim that way.” Chase said. Once he reached shore, Chase said he ran to the nearest home he could find and knocked on their door.
Florida Fish and Wildlife — who were helped by Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office — eventually spotted Steven and Abigail after an hour-long search. Rescue crews discovered the father and daughter had drifted a mile from where their boat was anchored. Chase’s father and sister were in the water for about two hours before they were rescued but both are doing well.
Chase and Steven were not required to wear a life vest. Only children ages 6 and under must wear one for a vessel 26 feet long or shorter. Steve knows how fortunate they are to have made it out of the situation. Steve said ‘We’re here. By the grace of God, we’re here. Little man also made it to shore and got help and that’s what saved our lives.”
Eric Prosswimmer, spokesperson for Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department explained that it was his colleagues’ quick response that helped give the story a happy ending. “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.”