Irondequoit Bay drowning update: 9-year-old who called 911 is a "hero"
Posted at: 08/29/2012 11:24 PM
| Updated at: 08/29/2012 11:44 PM
By: Lynette Adams | WHEC.com
The Sheriff is calling a 9-year-old Rochester boy a hero.
His name is Paul Castro and it was his quick action that kept him and his three young cousins safe yesterday, out in the Irondequoit Bay.
27-year-old Chantha Nhong and 28-year-old Keo Nhong drowned yesterday. They were out tubing with family on Irondequoit Bay.
A tubing accident threw Paul, and the two adults with him, brothers, Keo and Chanta Nhong into the water.
Paul Castro is a fourth grader who likes to play video games. But yesterday he had to make a pretty grown up decision.
The tragic set of circumstances left him, his cousins, two 6-year olds and an 8-year-old stranded on a boat in the bay.
Paul, the 9-year-old who called 911 said his mom told him, "If there's danger call 911."
It's a lesson Paul Castro's mom says she has taught her son since he was old enough to push buttons on a phone. On Tuesday, August 29, that lesson paid off.
It may have saved the 9-year-old and his three young cousins.
They were on a boat with Keo and Chanta Nhong, who drowned in the Irondequoit Bay. It was a family outing and they were tubing, something they did often.
Paul says, "When I was tubing, I fell and Keo was trying to save me and then he was drowning. I swam to the boat and he got me up... and the driver... he tried to save Keo, but they both drowned."
It was a traumatic and frightening ordeal for Paul and the other children, but he kept a level head.
He pulled his 8-year-old cousin, who was clinging to the tube, back to the boat and helped him in. Then he called for 911 for help and was given specific instructions.
He said that 911 told him to, "Stay in the boat and wait for the Coast Guard."
He followed these instructions to the letter. Paul says it was like a nightmare, but his actions earned him high marks from the Sheriff.
Sheriff Patrick O' Flynn says, "Young Paul really was a hero in this situation in bringing Chantha Junior into shore and alerting the authorities so we could respond in support."
When asked if Paul felt like a hero he had one thing to say: "Yeah!"
The Sheriff office says Paul and his cousins did everything right. Most importantly, they were wearing life jackets.
The U.S Coast Guard says wearing life jackets is the number one and most important rule of recreational boating. The Coast Guard website says 533 people were involved in boating fatalities last year. Only 15% of them were wearing life jackets.