The INSIDER Summary:
- Nine people almost drowned when a strong current hit a Panama City, Florida, beach.
- Eighty heroic bystanders formed a human chain, and a few strong swimmers pulled them to safety.
- Everyone made it out alive.
When 34-year-old Roberta Ursrey’s two young boys were swept away by a riptide in the waters of a Panama City, Florida, beach, she and most of her family members jumped in to rescue them. Then, all six relatives became trapped by the strong current. Others who tried to rescue them also struggled to get back to the shore, leaving nine people fighting for their lives.
That’s when 80 people formed a human chain from the beach to pass the distressed, exhausted swimmers back to safety, the Washington Post reports.
«To see people from different races and genders come into action to help TOTAL strangers is absolutely amazing to see!!» Jessica Simmons, who was at the beach, wrote on Facebook.
Simmons and her husband Derek then sprang into action. They swam along the human chain and began the rescue effort, handing out boogie boards and surfboards and sending Ursrey, her husband, nephew, boys, and 67-year-old mother back to the beach, along with the others who had tried to help.
«I was raised in a pool and a lake since I was crawling, so water was no hard task for me,» Jessica wrote. «I can hold my breath underwater and go around a[n] Olympic pool with ease! I knew I could get them to the human chain of people that wanted to help.»
After a harrowing hour in the water, all nine people were back on shore, and the beach burst into applause.
Ursrey’s mother remains hospitalized after she experienced a heart attack in the water, but is in stable condition according to the Post.