9-Year-Old Boy Saves Injured Dad From Drowning After Diving Accident

A young boy is being praised after he helped save the life of his dad from drowning in an accident in Florida.

Asaih Williams


9-year-old Asaih Williams, jumped in to help his dad in the Santa Rosa Sound after he failed to emerge for several seconds.

The boy from Pensacola said, “All I remember was that he said he broke his neck and he said he was scared,” Asaih recalled Wednesday, several days after the accident. “I had a little time limit in my head. If I jump in and the person I’m jumping within that certain amount of time (doesn’t come up), I go after them.”

Asaih had never taken true technical swim training, but he knew that he was the only person in a position to help at that moment.

The accident


The Williams family was having a relaxing day at Quietwater Beach on Saturday after spending all day swimming and relaxing. It was after sunset, Asaih convinced his dad, Josh, to take one last dip before calling it a night. “I was up on the shore with these two younger ones,” said Audrey Williams, the mother of Asaih and the couple’s two other young children.

“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.”

Daring rescue


Audrey stayed 50 feet away on the beach, occupied with her two little ones. Asaih jumped into the water followed by Josh, who dove in headfirst. The water was very shallow, “Asaih saw that daddy wasn’t coming up as quickly as he should have and he knew something was wrong,” Audrey said. “He flipped him over because Josh was on his stomach. Asaih flipped him over because he couldn’t move.”

Even though there was a 100-pound weight difference between the father and son, Asaih managed to turn his dad over and ensure he wasn’t at risk of drowning, since he had very obviously just suffered a debilitating neck injury. “Josh told me from the hospital, ‘I knew when I impacted, my neck was gone,'” Audrey recalled.

Asaih kept his dad in the same position on his back and slowly tugged him to shore all by himself until bystanders intervened and helped the young boy. While a man helped his dad on land, a woman called for an ambulance and Josh Williams was transported Saturday night to Baptist Hospital as a trauma alert and then he was transported to Sacred Heart for C1-C3 fusion surgery Monday.

“He’s working on trying to get his feeling back in his arms and legs. His left side is worse than his right,” said Audrey, who added that the early prognosis is that Josh’s injury won’t be life-altering, and he won’t require a wheelchair long term. “Doctors are saying he should have a full recovery. He’s progressing pretty fast. He lifted his head and sat up in a chair (Tuesday).”

Asaih had an appointment with the doctor this week after he felt pain in his right leg due to the jump. His mom said that the boy had a little inflammation and should be back to 100% by the weekend.

“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 said. “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. He’s daddy’s hero, that’s for sure.”


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