‘I was scared’: Video shows ‘dust devil’ engulfing catcher at Jacksonville youth baseball game

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A dust devil quickly formed during a baseball game Sunday afternoon at the Fort Caroline Athletic Association baseball field.

In a video shared with News4JAX, Bauer Zoya, 7, a catcher for the Ponte Vedra Sharks, is seen being engulfed by the short-lived whirlwind.

“I was scared and I got afraid if someone would pull me out,” Zoya said.

Zoya was in the spiraling sand and debris for a few seconds before umpire Aidan Wiles, 17, rescued him.

And Zoya said although it was only a few seconds, it felt like he was in there for 10 minutes.

“I couldn’t breathe that much,” Zoya said. “So I held my breath and I feel like I couldn’t touch the ground. So I kind of lifted up a little bit.”

Wiles said when he saw Zoya surrounded by all of the dust, he was initially a little afraid.

But he knew it was best for him to put his fear aside and help the little kid out.

“I was worried about his safety because when I got taught, the players’ safety is always the first thing,” Wiles said.

The dust devil happened in the second of a three-game tournament at Fort Caroline.

It was between the Fort Caroline Athletic Association Indians and Ponte Vedra Sharks.

Zoya said the dust didn’t stop him from continuing to play.

After the umpire rescued him, his dad poured water on him to get the dirt out of his eyes, and then he went back into the game.

And he even believes what he went through helped him play better.

Although he said it helped him play better, his team did not end up winning the championship, but they did go home with Mother’s Day rings.

And while Zoya is happy, his dad Brian Zoya said he’s just glad Wiles had quick thinking and stepped in to help his son.

“A kid that just had the presence in mind to just do that it’s just special to see,” Brian said. “It was pretty cool to see yesterday. He had great parents raising him.”

Brian also said he has been in contact with Wiles’ parents. So there could be a potential meet-up in the future.

About the Author:

Khalil Maycock joined the News4JAX team in November 2022 after reporting in Des Moines, IA.