A 7-year-old boy swam for an hour, sometimes floating on his back so as not to tire himself out, and called for help at the first house he saw to rescue his father and 4-year-old sister after a boating incident on the St. Johns River in the north Florida city of Jacksonville.
Local media reported on Monday the heroic journey of Chase Poust, who had to swim against the current to save himself and his family.
The minor’s father, Steven Poust, told the press that last Friday he anchored his boat in the water while fishing and his children swam around it.
Chase said that while they were in the water, his sister Abigail, who was wearing a life jacket, got loose from the boat due to a strong current and he let go to go after her, but the current began to carry them away.
Their father jumped in to save them and told Chase to try to swim against the current, to shore.
“I told both of them that I loved them because I wasn’t sure what was going to happen,” the father said, his voice cracking.
Chase continued to swim to shore and explained that he did a dog swim and then floated on his back so he wouldn’t get tired.
“The current was going in the opposite direction of the boat and the shore, so it was very difficult to swim in that direction,” Chase said.
The boy related that once he reached shore he ran to the nearest house to call for help.
The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, the Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission helped rescue this family.
“I screamed for help at the top of my lungs,” Poust explained.
Authorities say neither Chase nor his father were required to wear a life jacket because the law applies to children under 6 years old for a small boat like the one they were in.