7-Year-Old Boy Swims For an Hour to Get Help For Dad and Sister Stuck in Florida River

·2 min read

A Florida family's Memorial Day weekend fishing trip would have ended in tragedy if not for the heroic actions of a brave young boy.

Steven Poust took his two young children—Chase, 7 and Abigail, 4—fishing in St. Johns River in Jacksonville Friday. He told WJXT that he anchored his boat while he fished and the kids swam around in the water.

Abigail, who was hanging on to the back of the boat, reportedly lost her grip in a strong current. Seeing his sister floating away, Chase also let go of the boat. Soon, both were being carried away by the dangerous current.

"I felt really scared," Chase, who didn't have a life jacket on, told the local news station.

Fortunately, Abigail was wearing a life jacket. Steven jumped in the water to try to grab a hold of her as Chase did his best to swim to shore.

"I told them I loved him because I wasn't sure what's going to happen," their father recalled to WJXT. "I tried to stick with both of them. I wore myself out. She drifted away from me."

But little Chase kept swimming to shore, alternating between doggie paddling and floating on his back to conserve his energy.

"The current was going the opposite way of going to the boat and the shore, so it was very hard to swim that way," he explained.

After an hour in the water, Chase finally made it to shore. He said he ran to the nearest house and knocked on the door for help.

Silhouette of a boy in river
Silhouette of a boy in river

daniilphotos/Getty Images

An hour later, crews from the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission found Steven and Abigail about a mile from their boat.

"We're here. By the grace of God, we're here," Steven said. "Little man … made it to shore and got help, and that's what saved our lives."