A 7-year-old boy swam for an hour, trying to save his father and sister from a dangerous rip current. Steven Poust said that he anchored his boat on the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Fla., to let his two children, Chase, 7, and Abigail, 4, swim.
Suddenly, Abigail, who was wearing a life jacket, got swept into a current and let go of the boat. Chase, who was not wearing a life preserver, stayed with her, according to the report. “I felt really scared,” Chase told a local radio station.
Their father jumped in to try and help them and told Chase to swim to shore while trying to reach his daughter. “I told them I loved him because I wasn’t sure what’s going to happen,” Poust said. He added, “I tried to stick with both of them. I wore myself out. She drifted away from me.”
That’s when the 7-year-old began to fight. He swam toward the shore while using the doggy paddle and back float to preserve 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,” Chase said.
After swimming for an hour, Chase reached land and ran to the nearest house for help. Meanwhile, his dad and sister drifted nearly two miles away from the boat’s location, according to the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department.
The department reached the boat but had to call in other agencies to expand the search, spokesperson Eric Prosswimmer said in a news conference.
“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,” he said. “We couldn’t ask for a better outcome.”
How to Survive a Rip Current
Rip currents are quite dangerous and according to Bright Side Shorts, claims the lives of “more than 100 Americans every year.” Check out below what the organization says to do in a rip current:
- Trying to swim against a rip current will only use up your energy; the energy you need to survive and escape the rip current.
- Do NOT try to swim directly into to shore. Swim along the shoreline until you escape the current’s pull. When free from the pull of the current, swim at an angle away from the current toward shore.
- If you feel you can’t reach shore, relax, face the shore, and call or wave for help. Remember: If in doubt, don’t go out!
- If possible, only swim at beaches with lifeguards.
- If you choose to swim on beaches without a lifeguard, never swim alone. Take a friend and have that person take a cell phone so that person can call 911 for help.