Story at a glance

  • A 7-year-old Florida boy swam for help after his father and sister were taken away by a strong current.
  • Chase and his father Steven Poust got caught in a current in the St. Johns River while trying to rescue Abigail, 4, who began drifting away in her life jacket.
  • Chase swam an hour to shore then ran to find help for his father and sister.

A 7-year-old Florida boy is being recognized as a hero for saving his father and younger sister who had been taken away by a current.

Steven Poust was on his boat on the St. Johns River with his children, Chase, 7, and Abigail, 4, on Friday when he anchored it so they could swim.

Abigail was wearing a life jacket and hanging on the back of the boat alongside Chase, who isn’t required to wear a life jacket, when the strong current caused her to let go of the boat. 

Chase let go to try and catch his sister, but she continued to drift and Chase also became stuck in the current. Poust jumped in after them but struggled to reach them in the water as all three drifted further from the boat.


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

Unable to grab onto them, Poust told Chase to swim with the current toward shore as he swam after his daughter, who was floating in the current in her life jacket. 

It took Chase, who told CNN affiliate WJXT he alternated between doggy paddling and floating on his back, an hour to make it to shore, where he immediately ran to the closest home to get help for his father and sister. 


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“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.

The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department (JFRD) worked with other local agencies to search for the pair, who were found in stable condition less than 2 miles from the boat.

"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," JFRD spokesperson Eric Prosswimmer said. "We couldn't ask for a better outcome."


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Published on Jun 01, 2021