100-strong human chain rescues family from clutches of death at Florida beach (PHOTOS)
The family, including two children and a grandmother, along with a few people who attempted to help, were swept 300 ft (91 meters) from the shore on Panama City Beach.
Roberta Ursrey was on the beach when she spotted her two sons screaming for help in the water, WJHG reports. She and her family ran to rescue them, but the current was too strong and they ended up being pulled out themselves. Before long, a total of nine people were caught in the riptide.
Law enforcement called for a boat to come and save the family but onlookers decided they had no time to waste and formed a human chain to come to the stranded group’s aid. According to Ursrey, her mother had a heart attack in the water. A GoFundMe page has since been set up to raise money for her medical treatment.
A total of around 100 people came together to form the chain.
“I knew we had to do something,” one of the human chain participants, Jessica Mae Simmons, wrote on Facebook. “To see people from different races and genders come into action to help TOTAL strangers is absolutely amazing to see!! People who didn't even know each other went HAND IN HAND IN A LINE, into the water to try and reach them. Pause and just IMAGINE that.”
“There were yellow caution flags flying on the beach but unfortunately, despite our best efforts at education, people don’t always know what the flags mean,” Valerie Sale, the public information officer for Bay County, told the Guardian.