U.S. Coast Guard honors 9-year-old for saving father’s life after diving accident

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PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — A 9-year-old Pensacola boy was honored by the U.S. Coast Guard Wednesday for his heroic actions in saving his father’s life after a diving accident.

The Coast Guard honored Asaih Williams, who kept his father, Josh Williams, afloat in the water at Pensacola Beach after he suffered a neck injury Aug. 1.

Capt. Ladonn Allen, commander of Coast Guard Sector Mobile, presented a Coast Guard Certificate of Appreciation to Asaih for his actions.

“When we see a young child, a 9-year-old, do something this heroic, we have to come together and celebrate,” Allen said.

Asaih said Wednesday Aug. 1 was a great day at Pensacola Beach before the accident.

He and his father had taken turns jumping and diving off a pier near Hemingway’s restaurant. One final time, Asaih jumped off the pier. His father dove, breaking several vertebrate in his neck.

“It was the end of the day, no one really expected anything to happen,” he said. “We went to go jump one more time, and of course it had to be that one more time. He dove. I jumped. And when I saw him going up like that, I started to carry him past the pier.”

Josh Williams said he broke one his “own rules” when diving into water he wasn’t familiar with.

Asaih was able to keep his father afloat until others could help him the rest of the way.

Josh Williams has had 25 surgeries since the accident, and doctors are hopeful he’ll make a full recovery.

“I’ll be back,” he said.

He said he’s extremely proud of his son for his heroic actions and credits him for saving his life.

“The boy is going to be unstoppable one day,” he said. “Proud is an understatement.”

The Coast Guard gave Asaih a ride on one of its vessels as part of his celebration.

This story will be updated.


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