It was just a normal evening on the water last Friday, when Steven Poust took his children, Abigail (4) and Chase (7), fishing on the St. John’s River in Florida. That is, until he anchored his boat for his children to go swimming.
Abigail, who was wearing a life jacket, was hanging off the back of the boat, as she usually does, but the current was so strong that she suddenly let go. She started drifting away, prompting her brother to let go of the boat as well to save her. He managed to reach her successfully, but the current prevented him from getting back to the boat.
Poust jumped into the water to save his children, but Abigail’s life jacket caused her to continue floating away with the current. He told Chase to swim to shore, and he told his kids he loved them, as he was unsure of the outcome.
Chase then swam for an hour against the current to reach shore, alternating between doggie paddling and floating on his back when he got tired. When he made it, he knocked on the nearest door for help.
Florida Fish and Wildlife, with the assistance of the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, initiated a search on the river. They were able to rescue both Poust and Abigail and recover the boat after an hourlong search. The two of them had floated an entire mile away from their boat.
“Little man… made it to shore and got help, and that’s what saved our lives,” says Poust.