LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla (WOFL FOX 35) - Eight-year-old Landon Cunningham, of Ocala, said his father is a hero who saved his life, after his dad stopped a baseball bat from hitting him in the face. The exact moments were all caught in pictures.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review photographer Christopher Horner captured the exact moments Marion County Fire Rescue Firefighter Captain Shaun Cunningham stopped a flying baseball bat from striking his son in the face this weekend. Landon Cunningham explained, “This is the baseball bat that hit me right here. This thing was flying!” He told Fox 35’s David Williams, as he held the bat up. “It went across, like that. I think when it was doing it, my dad blocked it like that. But then it flipped around and hit me right here.”
They were at a spring training game of the Atlanta Braves and the Pittsburg Pirates at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports for Landon’s birthday. Landon had just borrowed his dad’s phone to take pictures and he looked down for a second. The bat slipped out of the hitter’s hands.
Landon’s father said, “I saw the bat heading toward him. I didn’t really have time to think. I just kind of threw my arm out there.” The 37-year-old father stopped the bat in its tracks. Ashley Cunningham, Landon’s mother,said, “I definitely think he had the hand of God, guardian angel, whatever you want to call it, watching over him that day. Absolutely.”
In the photos, you can see the terrified looks on people faces. The bat hit Shaun in the wrist which left him with bruises. “Went into ‘dad mode,’ and immediately started looking him over and making sure he was ok,” Shaun said. “I think I would’ve died or went to the hospital, racing for my life,” Landon added.
The photos have gone viral. “When I initially saw the picture, I wanted to throw up in my mouth," said Ashley. "As a mother, it’s a very scary picture, seeing it all caught in action.” She called it a miracle. “He was definitely the epitome of hero to my son and my daughter that weekend.” Landon said with two thumbs up and a huge smile, “I think he’s amazing!” “My job is to protect my kids,” Shaun said. “My son and my daughter.”
The Cunninghams said they will return to Walt Disney World soon. The Cunninghams also said they were thankful to Disney for quickly sending cast members and EMTs to help Landon.
BELOW: The moment was captured by breathtaking images from Pittsburgh Tribune-Review photographer Christopher Horner who shared the photos on Twitter.