Who is Chase Poust? Florida boy, 7, swims for an hour to get help for dad, sister stuck in deadly current
Chase Poust managed to outswim a dangerous current that separated him from his father and his sister, 4, and is being hailed as a Memorial Day hero
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA: A seven-year-old boy is being hailed as a hero after he saved his family from a deadly current this Memorial Day weekend.
Chase Poust managed to outswim a dangerous current that separated him from his father and his four-year-old sister in the St Johns River near Mandarin Point on Friday, CNN affiliate WKXT reported. Father Steven Poust recounted to the station how he had anchored his boat in the water while fishing and his kids were swimming around the vessel.
Seven-year-old Chase recalled how his little sister Abigail, 4, let go of the boat because of a strong current. In order to save his sister, Chase let go of the boat as well.
“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. “I felt really scared,” he added.
Abigail had a life jacket on and was floating along with the current as her father jumped in the water to grab her. Meanwhile, Chase, who did not have a life jacket, tried to swim to shore.
“I told them I loved him because I wasn’t sure what’s going to happen,” Steven Poust told the station. “I tried to stick with both of them. I wore myself out. She drifted away from me.”
However, Chase continued swimming to shore. He noted how he would doggie paddle and then float on his back for some time to ensure he wouldn't tire himself out. “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 said.
Chase reportedly reached the shore after an hour, while his father and sister were stuck in the current for an hour longer before being rescued by Jacksonville firefighters more than a mile away from the family's boat.
As soon as Chase reached the shore, he ran to the nearest home to get help. The family was subsequently rescued with help from the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department (JFRD), the Sheriff’s Office, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
“I screamed for help at the top of my lungs and waved my arms and sure enough someone heard us,” Steven Poust said. “Little man also made it to shore and got help and that’s what saved our lives.”
“We’re here. By the grace of God, we’re here," he added.
JFRD'S Eric Prosswimmer told WKXT that neither Chase nor his father Steven was required to wear a life vest as the law applies to children aged 6 and under and for vessels that are under 26 feet.
When asked, “How did you get so good at being in the water and dealing with those situations?” Chase answered, “I have no idea.”
In April, MEAWW reported how a Texas father sacrificed his life while saving his two sons from a dangerous riptide during a family trip to the beach. Angela Graham wrote of the April 11 incident on a GoFundMe campaign, recounting how she was with her husband Josh Graham and their children at Surfside Beach when the accident occurred about 50 feet offshore.
"We lost the love of my life, my soulmate, the best father to my son and stepsons, a loving son and brother, grandson, nephew, cousin, and a dear friend to so many," she wrote. "He died a hero saving our two oldest boys from drowning in a riptide in Surfside Beach, TX."