If you’re like me, there are few things better than jumping on an inflatable float and relaxing with a drink while in the pool. Nevertheless, these objects are becoming quite dangerous in recent years. As they become more common and therefore, more widespread, people are using them in dangerous ways that put people’s lives at risk. You’ll find floats in all sorts of shapes, including unicorns, ducks, sharks, and even giant pizza slices.
But in the summer of 2018, Tara Myers, a distraught mother, shared her horror story about the family’s inflatable swan raft. Because she made the mistake of letting her child go out into the Gulf of Mexico on the raft, a body of water known for its strong currents, the expected result occurred. The water’s current pulled the helpless boy out into the open water, several miles from shore. He found himself clinging to dear life atop the floaty raft while sharks cruised in the waters underneath him.
This year a similar story has come forward. Another mom, this time, one visiting Lake Michigan, encouraged her child to climb atop a floaty raft and drift out into the open water. The child was on an inflatable duck, and he drifted out into the open water until he was more than 150 yards from the shore. He was horrified and broke down in tears.
Water safety expert and instructor David Benjamin wants parents to realize how dangerous floats can be for little children. Benjamin was at the Lake Michigan beach while the boy was drifting into open waters and at risk of dying if he fell off of it.
“When she turned back around, she let go of the duck, and it started to drift slightly in the wind,” he said.
Benjamin, a true hero, bolted to action while the boy’s mother cried out for her son. Benjamin recruited the on-duty lifeguard and grabbed his paddleboard so he could get out into the open water and save the boy from certain death.
“As I’m paddling out, I’m looking, and he’s really far out,” he told Inside Edition. “I’d say about 150 yards from the shore.”
Benjamin also noticed that the boy was terrified.
“He was grabbing the head of the duck. I can see he’s full crying mode, stomping his feet,” Benjamin told Inside Edition. The boy was so distraught. He might never want to go into the water ever again.
Although Benjamin was on his way to save the boy, fate intervened. The duck flipped over, and the boy toppled into the water. Soon more beachgoers were running to the child’s rescue. They didn’t want to be present – and do nothing – while an innocent boy was drowning because he was using a float where he shouldn’t.
Thankfully, a boat arrived and plucked the drowning boy from the water.
Last August, four women got stranded on a large inflatable unicorn in Lake Michigan and waited for the rescue team to help them.
“These inflatable toys can be very dangerous,” Benjamin warned. “They can float far and fast.”
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