SACRAMENTO (KTXL/CNN) – A mom, dad and three small children were enjoying a day on the water when the unexpected happened, but the family’s 5-year-old managed to come to the aid.
Joshua Serna, 5, was riding a jet ski Monday with his father, Benjamin Serna. The pair were towing Joshua’s mother and brother, 2, along with a friend’s 3-year-old daughter on an inner tube behind them.
Neither Joshua nor his father had ever been on a jet ski.
Just 10 minutes into their maiden voyage, danger began as Benjamin Serna turned the water craft around to bring them closer to shore.
"The inflatable inner tube started sinking,” Benjamin Serna said.
His wife started yelling to him for help, so the father jumped off the jet ski and swam out to the tube.
"She had gone under, and the two babies, she was holding them up,” Benjamin Serna said.
He ripped off his vest and handed it to his wife to put on then tried to swim back to the jet ski, but he was much too weak and, at this point, was holding onto the 3-year-old girl.
"We started calling out to my son at that point. I remember going down and coming back up and getting a breath of air then yelling, ‘Joshua!’ and then coming back down under the water,” Benjamin Serna said.
Both parents say they couldn’t do anything and relied on God and their son for help.
"God helped him to figure out how to turn on the Sea-Doo,” Benjamin Serna said.
Joshua eventually was able to get close enough to his family that his father was able to grab onto the jet ski’s railing. He then told Joshua to pull the 3-year-old into the jet ski, which the boy did.
Joshua says he wasn’t scared at the time.
“I pushed the red button, and I drive,” he said.
Once they were all back to shore and safe, however, Joshua began to cry.
"I just told him that it was OK. We were all OK and that he was my hero, and I was very proud of him,” Benjamin Serna said.
Benjamin Serna and the two younger children were taken to the hospital. The man had to be held overnight.
Thursday, everyone was doing better, and they all credit Joshua with saving them.
"I saved my dad. I'm a hero,” Joshua said.