“Dust Devil Swallows Youth Baseball Catcher in Florida Game”
A sensational incident transpired during a baseball game on Sunday afternoon at the Fort Caroline Athletic Association baseball field, located in Jacksonville, Florida, as reported by News 6 partner WJXT-TV. An abrupt dust devil, which is a rapidly rotating column of air, formed during the game, causing havoc on the ground. Bauer Zoya, a catcher for the Ponte Vedra Sharks, was caught in the short-lived whirlwind, leaving eyewitnesses astonished.
In a video shared with WJXT-TV, Zoya, aged seven, is seen being engulfed by the spiraling sand and debris for a few seconds before umpire Aidan Wiles, who is 17 years old, extended his rescue mission. Speaking of the experience, Zoya shared his fear, “I was scared and afraid that no one would pull me out.” He felt as if he was in the storm for ten minutes, though it was only for a few seconds. “I couldn’t breathe that much. So, I held my breath, and I couldn’t touch the ground. So, I kind of lifted up a little bit,” he added.
Wiles, who spotted Zoya surrounded by the dust devil’s full intensity, admitted that his first instinct was fear. However, Wiles did not let his emotions get the best of him and decided to help the little boy. “I was worried about his safety because when I got taught, the players’ safety is always the first thing,” Wiles said.
The dust devil incident happened during the second game of a three-game tournament at Fort Caroline. The game marked the Fort Caroline Athletic Association Indians and Ponte Vedra Sharks in attendance. Despite the unforgiving whirlwind, Zoya was determined to play on. After Wiles rescued him, his dad poured water on him to get the dirt out of his eyes, and then he resumed playing.
The incident brought some positive effects on Zoya, though. He believed that going through what he went through during the game turned out to be an advantage for him since he played better afterward. However, his team failed to win the championship but received Mother’s Day rings as compensation.
Zoya’s father, Brian Zoya, expressed his gratitude to Wiles for his quick-thinking during the incident. He added, “A kid that just had the presence in mind to handle that is just special to see. It was pretty cool to see yesterday. He had great parents raising him.” He even revealed he had been in contact with Wiles’ parents and there would likely be a potential meet-up in the future.
In conclusion, the looming dust devil wreaked momentary havoc on the field, causing a scare for the players and audience present. However, Wiles’ quick-thinking and bravery averted any potential harm to Zoya. The incident brought a lesson of teamwork, resilience, and quick decision-making under pressure.