As seven-year-old Bauer Zoya, a Little Leaguer from Fort Caroline, Florida, was getting ready to play catcher and start a new inning, something terrible happened. He found himself engulfed by a gush of wind swirling around him, blowing dust and making it hard for him to breathe as the crowd sat, stunned by what they saw on the field.
Luckily little Bauer had a hero: the umpire, a 16-year-old named Aiden Wiles.
Eyewitnesses describe the harrowing scene that unfolded before their eyes, as young Little League player Bauer Zoya found himself surrounded and whipped around by the powerful vortex of the dust devil. It was at that very moment that Wiles, who works as an umpire on the weekends, displayed an incredible sense of urgency, and rushed in to rescue the distressed young boy, wrote a local news outlet.
“I just saw him freaked out, just like couldn’t find his way out, and I knew his little body couldn’t handle it, so I just rushed in and got him,” Wiles said.
Bauer, still recovering from the ordeal, expressed his gratitude towards Wiles, saying, “At first, I was scared, but I just told myself to think of happy thoughts. Then I thought the twister got me, but it was Aidan, and I could breathe again.”
Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh, who analyzed the video of the incident, shed light on the intensity of the dust devil.
“The winds are probably, maybe 30-40 miles per hour right in the middle of that dust devil. For a 7-year-old, you’re definitely thinking, ‘Wow, what’s happening here?’” Buresh said.
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Dust devils, also called whirlwinds, are natural atmospheric phenomena that occur when hot air rises from the ground and meets colder air above it. They are typically formed on hot and dry days, particularly in areas with flat terrain and little vegetation. Dust devils are characterized by a rotating column of air that picks up loose dirt and debris from the ground, creating a visible column of dust.
Although he was frightened, Bauer showed his toughness. After his dad poured some water on his face to get the dust out of his eyes, nose, and mouth, he donned the catching gear and said play ball.
Brian Zoya, Bauer’s dad, had nothing but praise for Aiden The Umpire: “As a 16-year-old kid that just had the presence in mind to just do that, it was pretty special to see. It was pretty cool to see yesterday. He obviously had great parents raising that young man.”
We agree. Go Aiden!