Parents share story after Florida toddler survives in air pocket when boat overturns

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BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. (WESH)  — Authorities say a 23-month-old girl managed to stay afloat in an air pocket until rescue crews found her under a boat that overturned on the Indian River in central Florida.

WESH 2 News spoke with the family whose young daughter was rescued from a capsized boat.

Just days later, the family is looking back on a terrifying situation on the water.

“What’s your emergency?” a 911 dispatcher said.

“I’m in the river. Our boat crashed and my baby is still in the water. Please send somebody now.”

The 911 calls captured the chaos on the Indian River Friday night, moments after the Bossard family’s boat flipped over with Tammy Bossard, her husband, Brian Bossard, 8-month-old Charlotte and 23-month-old daughter Kennedy on board.

Tammy and Brian quickly got to the surface with Charlotte, but Kennedy was nowhere to be found.

“I think she’s under the boat. It’s totally upside down. It’s capsized. Yes, and I think my daughter is under the boat. Please just hurry,” Tammy said to the 911 dispatcher.

“I woke up in the water with Charlotte staring me right here in my eyes. I could see the boat behind her and hear the water, woosh, and water slapping up against the boat. And I’m thinking this isn’t happening,” Tammy said.

Brian was at the helm when he hit a guide wire.

“All of a sudden, I saw the cable right in front of me and by the time I saw it, it was just too late,” Brian said.

When first responders arrived, Brian said one of the divers found Kennedy in an air pocket and pulled her from underneath the boat, life jacket and all.

“She popped right to the surface,” Brian said.

Three days later, it’s as if nothing ever happened.

“She’s been just the same old Kennedy, all the way,” Tammy said.

“Just blessed. It was a miracle,” Brian said.

The Bossards hope that other parents hear their story and commit to always putting life jackets on their kids when on the water.

They also want reflective paint to be put on the guide wires to prevent accidents like this from happening in the future. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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