80-Person Human Chain Saves Swimmers From Florida Rip Current
Jul 13, 2017, 00:37
A group in Panama City Beach that nearly drowned in a rip current before being rescued by a human chain of 80 people over the weekend offered a grim reminder of the dangers lurking off Florida's beaches: deadly currents can hide beneath the water's surface.
Roberta Ursrey (left with her husband Bryan), 34, had just left the water when she noticed her two sons, eight-year-old Stephen and his 11-year-old brother, Noah (right), were too far from shore. That's when they heard a commotion and saw people pointing at two boys who had become caught in a riptide.
He thought at first that there was a shark, but found out that a group of people were in danger of drowning. They linked their arms to withstand the current and reach out to the family stuck in 15-feet water. Jessica and Derek Simmons, along with a few others, started hauling people onto the boogie board and pushed them towards the human chain.
"I saw my mom, 2 daughters, husband and nephew all together but I didn't see my boys so I went looking for them".
"It was the human chain that pulled us out of that water". "It was beachgoers and the grace of God's will", Washington Post quoted Ursrey as saying.
Jessica Simmons said the drowning victims were asking for a flotation device and there were people standing on the beach.
"They were screaming and crying that they were stuck", Ursrey said.
An unbelievable event took place this weekend when a family was caught in a potentially deadly rip current, which some are referring to as a riptide. The strangers formed the human chain on their own, she said. The chain was then anchored by people on shore who would pull them back to safety.
Ms Ursrey said she was so exhausted she blacked out and woke up on the sand. Usually, they form near big structures like piers, in shallow areas or breaks in sandbars.
As the lifeguards had already left last Saturday evening, beachgoers swung into operation after seeing them fighting for their lives in the nerve-wracking ordeal.
The human chain grew to as many as 80 people, covering a space of more than 100 yards linking the swimmers back to the beach. Simmons decided there was no time to waste. According to the WKRG, only two people were injured in the incident and were hospitalized, including Ursrey's mother who suffered a heart attack, and one boy with a broken hand. 'These people were God's angels that were in the right place at the right time.
Roberta and her mother were taken to the hospital where they were treated for their injuries.
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