A teenager became an everyday hero when wild weather struck at the local baseball diamond.
17-year-old Aiden Wiles was umpiring a three-game youth baseball tournament in Jacksonville, Florida, when a dust devil formed out of nowhere behind home plate.
The Fort Caroline Athletic Association Indians had a batter up, when a funnel of sand and debris formed right on top of the Ponte Vedra Sharks’ catcher on Sunday afternoon.
Seven-year-old Bauer Zoya struggled to get out up from his catcher’s crouch as the wind whipped around him.
“I couldn’t breathe that much,” Zoya said told local outlet News4Jax. “So I held my breath.”
“I feel like I couldn’t touch the ground,” he explained. “So I kind of lifted up a little bit.”
He eventually was able to stand, but was clearly disoriented as he struggled to get out of the tiny twister.
That’s when Wiles rushed to the plate, snatched Zoya out of the wind funnel, and carried him to safety.
Wiles said he was afraid of the odd weather phenomenon, but knew he had to help the pint-sized player.
“I was worried about his safety because when I got taught, the players’ safety is always the first thing,” he remarked.
Once the weather cleared up, the Mother’s Day match-up was back on, and Zoya took his place at the plate after his dad helped flush the dust out of his eyes with a water bottle wash-out.
The player’s father, Brian Zoya, was thankful that Wiles sprung into action to save his son.
“A kid that just had the presence in mind to just do that it’s just special to see,” he commented.
“It was pretty cool to see yesterday. He had great parents raising him.”
Despite his ordeal, the kid catcher believes that he played better because of the experience, because he was able to catch a pop fly during the game.
Dust devil’s are common occurrences throughout most of the world and normally only last for a few minutes before disappearing.
They typically occur on clear days with light wind, when heat from the ground creates a localized air pocket that forms into a spiraling vortex.
At their worst, dust devils can reach diameters of up to 300 feet, become thousands of feet tall, rotate at wind speeds over 60 mph, and last for more than an hour.
Lucky for Zoya, he was swept up into a relatively minor dust devil that dissipated after a few seconds.