9-Year-Old Boy Praised as 'Daddy's Hero' for Saving His Life After Diving Accident at Fla. Beach
Asaih Williams managed to flip his dad Josh over and pull him to shore after he failed to emerge from the Florida waters on Saturday
A Florida father has his 9-year-old son to thank for saving his life after he was involved in a serious diving accident while enjoying a day at the beach with his family.
Asaih Williams didn't hesitate to jump into the Santa Rose Sound on Saturday when he noticed that his dad, Josh Williams, had not emerged from the water after jumping in head-first, according to the Pensacola News Journal.
After flipping his father over to ensure he didn't drown, Asaih pulled Josh to shore. The Florida dad was later transported to the hospital, where he is currently recovering from spinal fusion surgery, the outlet reported.
"I'm so grateful that [Asaih] was there for him because if he wasn't there, my husband probably wouldn't be here today," Asaih's mom and Josh's wife, Audrey Williams, told the Pensacola News Journal.
"The fact that a 9-year-old thought so fast in thinking, 'Oh, I gotta help, I'm the only one here to help him.' He brought him all the way back to shore all by himself," she continued. "He's daddy's hero, that's for sure."
The incident unfolded just before sunset as the Williams family, who recently moved to Florida from Georgia, was wrapping up their day at Quietwater Beach in Pensacola Beach, the outlet reported.
While Asaih and Josh headed into the water to take one last swim together before leaving, Audrey said she was on the beach watching the couple's other two children.
"I was up on the shore with these two younger ones," Audrey told the Pensacola News Journal. "They were kind of playing around where the ferry docks in, so it's about 15 feet deep right there. Then they went down a little bit further, to the right, at the end, where it was a lot more shallow. They couldn't see that well."
Audrey recalled to the outlet how Asaih jumped legs-first into the water, and then Josh dove in — but he had no idea that the water was so shallow beneath the surface.
After a few seconds of Josh remaining under the water, Asaih realized something was wrong.
"Asaih saw that daddy wasn't coming up as quickly as he should have and he knew something was wrong. He flipped him over because Josh was on his stomach [and] he couldn't move [due to the neck injury]," Audrey told the outlet, noting that the 100-pound weight difference didn't seem to deter her son from flipping Josh over.
"All I remember was that he said he broke his neck and he said he was scared," Asaih added. "I had a little time limit in my head. If I jump in and the person I'm jumping with, in that certain amount of time [doesn't come up], I go after them."
Once Josh was safely brought onto land, he was transported to Baptist Hospital as a trauma alert before getting moved to Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital, according to the Pensacola News Journal.
Doctors eventually determined that Josh's severe neck injury required him to undergo C1-C3 fusion surgery, which was successfully performed on Monday.
"Josh told me from the hospital, 'I knew when I impacted, my neck was gone,'" Audrey recalled to the outlet.
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The father of three is currently in a wheelchair but it'll only be temporary, as he was told that his injury won't be life-altering, according to Audrey.
Asaih also ended up seeing doctors this week after experiencing pain in his right leg, which they believe was caused by the same jump. Though the 9-year-old is suffering from some inflammation, doctors expect him to fully recover by the weekend.
Now, almost seven days after the incident, Audrey said her husband is focused on his recovery and continues to show progress each day.
"He's working on trying to get his feeling back in his arms and legs. His left side is worse than his right," she shared. "He's progressing pretty fast. He lifted his head and sat up in a chair [Tuesday]... Doctors are saying he should have a full recovery."