Boy, 7, swims for an hour to save family after boating mishap

Published: May. 31, 2021 at 1:27 AM CDT|Updated: May. 31, 2021 at 1:28 AM CDT
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WJXT) - A 7-year-old Florida boy is being hailed as a hero for saving his family after a boating accident. His father says they wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for him.

Chase Poust, 7, saved himself and his family Friday night when he, his 4-year-old sister and his dad went out on a boat to fish on St. Johns River. He and his sister Abigail swam by the boat while it was anchored.

“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 said.

Chase Poust, 7, swam to shore to save his father and 4-year-old sister after the family was...
Chase Poust, 7, swam to shore to save his father and 4-year-old sister after the family was caught in a strong current.(Source: WJXT via CNN)

Father Steven Poust says he jumped out of the boat to save his kids. Abigail had a life jacket on and floated along with the current as her father tried to grab her. He told Chase to swim to shore.

“I told them both I loved them because I wasn’t sure what’s going to happen. I tried to stick with her as long as I could… I wore myself out, and she drifted away from me,” Poust said.

But Chase kept swimming to shore. He says he would doggie paddle then float on his back when he got tired.

“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 an hour of swimming, Chase made it to shore, ran to the nearest home and knocked on the door for help.

Florida Fish and Wildlife rescued Chase’s father and sister in a boat after an hourlong search. The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office also helped in the rescue.

Authorities say the two had drifted more than a mile away from their boat.

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

Officials say neither Chase nor his father were required to wear a life vest. The law applies to children age 6 and under for a vessel that’s under 26 feet.

Copyright 2021 WJXT via CNN Newsource. All rights reserved.