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‘What Kind of Dad Says That?’: Father Draws Criticism for Shocking Reaction to 6-Year-Old Son Being Rescued from River In Resurfaced Video

A kayaker who rescued a child stranded in the middle of the river is getting a lot of praise online, while many are coming after the child’s father who appeared indifferent to the incident.

Florida-based kayaker David Jones discovered a 6-year-old boy floating in the water of the St. Louis River near Duluth Minnesota, wearing only a lifejacket, crying and yelling for his father.

A resurfaced video from July 2022 that’s drawn more than 10 million views on the Newsner TikTok channel shows Jones calming the child down as he paddles safely to shore with the boy hanging on to his kayak. Jones said that he spotted the child’s dad in a boat nearby, but that he pulled his anchor and went ashore without his son.

Video shows the rescue of a 6-year-old boy who a kayaker said was stranded in the middle of a river by his father. (Photo: TikTok/Newsner)

Jones is heard asking the boy how long he’s been in the water and the boy says he was in the river for a “long” time.

“He was very strong for a 6-year-old kid,” Jones told one outlet. “I was able to make jokes to kind of keep him distracted, get his mind off what was actually happening. He stopped panicking, he held onto the boat.”

As soon as Jones and the child get to shore, they find a nearby cabin and receive help from a few people. One man retrieves some towels to wrap around the child to warm his body.

Sometime later, the boy’s father arrives and greets Jones who tells him what happened. The father points to his son and casually says, “Sounds like he was a bit nervous.”

“He didn’t really seem as if he was taking the totality of the circumstances seriously,” Jones said. “He blamed the kid, saying, ‘He knows to swim to shore. We’ve been in this situation before.'”

The father is heard on the video telling the boy, “Calm down. Slowly swim to the shore. You’ve got this. We’ve been in this before.”

@newsnercomofficial Kayaker saves Child Credit: @daviidjonessjr #hero #kayak #outdoors #savior #mansaveschild ♬ originalljud – NewsnerCom

When Jones found the child, he said the current was pulling him farther away from land and it looked as if his arms and legs were tired after trying to swim against the flow of the water.

Jones said he saw a lot of negative feedback online against the boy’s dad and that even he was “concerned about the welfare of the child.” The video shows the father thanking Jones and genially saying, “We might be seeing each other again.”

Many commenters also lashed out at the father for appearing callous and dismissive toward his son’s distress and his rescue.

“Is it me or does it sound like the dad tried to ditch the kid?” one TikTok user wrote.

“This boy is not safe with his parents,” one person wrote.

“Wait a second. Guy left his kid in the middle of the river and no one is investigating?” another comment reads.

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