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Kayaker rescues lost 6-year-old found swimming alone in St. Louis River

15 July 2022

DULUTH, Minn. — A kayaker found a 6-year-old boy swimming alone in the St. Louis River and helped him back to safety after he was separated from his parent’s sailboat, and a video the kayaker posted on his Instagram depicting the rescue has gone viral.

David Jones Jr. is an avid outdoorsman, and on the afternoon of July 5 he was fishing on the St. Louis River when he heard screaming. That’s when he found a young boy, by himself, floating in the middle of the river.  

His GoPro camera was already rolling because he was in the process of reeling in a fish when he heard the boy scream. With the help of his kayak, he took the 6-year-old about 300 yards back to safety.

The air temperature was 57 degrees that afternoon and Jones was worried the boy might have hypothermia, but he says his law enforcement background helped him de-escalate the situation and helped the boy stay calm.

“Seeing the strength that kid had, and he didn’t give up. For him, to scream as loud as he could in that matter to get help, that kid is the real hero. That kid is really strong. That kid is the one who needs all the love and support,” Jones said.

Authorities say the boy became detached from his dad’s sailboat and the boat drifted away from him. But Jones says he still has a lot of questions and concerns about how the boy ended up in the water.  

Police officers have interviewed the child’s parent, who said they could not navigate back to the boy due to the currents of the river and the wind and was forced to beach the boat ashore.

According to the police report, the boy told his parent he would swim back to shore, but the current prevented him from doing so.

Click here to watch Instagram video of the rescue posted by the kayaker.

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