Dramatic Rescue as Departing Family Loads 4-Year-Old Onto Boat First — and It Drifts Away From Island

The boat was later found — empty.

A four-year-old Georgia boy had a very lucky escape on Wednesday after going on an impromptu boat trip — alone.

Chatham County Police said Marine Patrol were scrambled at 3:50 PM after a distraught 911 call reporting a child adrift on the New Cut River, which leads right to the Wassaw Sound, and into the Atlantic Ocean.

The boy’s family were on a tour with a local boat club near Wassaw National Wildlife Refuge, and decided to get out and explore a small island.

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But as they prepared to leave, they began loading the boat, and placed the boy aboard first — when it snapped free of its mooring.

They tried to catch the boat, but the current carried it beyond their reach.

The tour guide called for help, and after a frantic search, the boat was found idling in reverse northwest side of Wassaw Island. But the child was nowhere to be found.

A police helicopter was called in, and began scanning land and sea, until an hour later he was spotted walking through marsh grass on the northwest side of the island — completely unharmed.

The helicopter landed beside him, and the crew took him to an awaiting Marine Patrol vessel, before he was quickly reunited with his family.

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His rescuers said he was uninjured, but cold.

Police told WYFF that the boy had jumped out of the boat to go and look for his family — and that the life jacket he was wearing had saved his life.

“This is my 4 year old grandson, he was out in the boat with his great grandfather from his mother’s side of family!!!!” Stephanie Evans Hilliard wrote on Facebook. “This was an absolute terrifying experience!!!!”

“I would like to thank EVERYONE who helped locate him!!!!!!! We are so very grateful, there are no words to express my gratitude!!!!!! Needless to say, he will NOT be going on any other outings with this man!!!!!”

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