FLORIDA – In a testament to the true human spirit, 80 beachgoers formed a human chain in Panama Beach City in Florida to help save a family pulled in to the water by strong tides.
Roberta Ursey and her family were at the beach on Saturday when she heard her sons crying out for help.
Luckily, Jessica Simmons and her husband came to the rescue, encouraging people to hold hands and reach out for those who were in difficulties.
Ursey’s mother, who was among several others trapped in the rip current, suffered a heart attack and remains in hospital.
Simmons, who is from Alabama and said she was raised in a pool and a lake since she could crawl, posted on Facebook that there were heavy rains at the beach when the incident occurred.
“I can hold my breath underwater and go around a Olympic pool with ease! I knew I could get them to the human chain of people that wanted to help,” she stated.
Alongside her husband and the help of those forming the human chain, Ms Simmons shuttled people to safety on her bodyboard.
“To see people from different races and genders come into action to help total strangers is absolutely amazing! People who didn’t even know each other went hand in hand in a line, into the water to try and reach them,” she continued.
Rosalind Beckton, 38, who is a regular visitor to the beach, was there at the time with her 12-year-old son and witnessed the incident.
She told the BBC that she administered CPR to a woman who looked to be in need and who later suffered a heart attack.
“I witnessed many brave citizens risking their safety and their lives to form this human chain. It was amazing and heart warming to see,” she continued.
Beckton added that she didn’t see any lifeguards on duty at the time.
Ursey, who was rescued from the water alongside her family, told the News Herald, “I am so grateful… These people were God’s angels that were in the right place at the right time.
“I owe my life and my family’s life to them. Without them, we wouldn’t be here.”