Thanks to some quick thinking and innovative teamwork, approximately 80 beachgoers saved nine people from drowning at Panama City Beach in Florida this past weekend.
After a riptide trapped six members of Roberta Ursrey’s family, and three other swimmers, in its current on Saturday, onlookers at the beach worked together to form an impromptu human chain and rescue those struggling to stay above water, reports the Panama City News Herald.
According to the publication, beachgoer Jessica Mae Simmons first witnessed Ursrey’s family — including her eight and 11 year-old sons —trapped in the riptide, but she assumed they had seen a shark. However, after running to shore to alert her husband Derek, she realized someone was drowning and needed their help.
Simmons told the Panama City News Herald that her first thoughts were, "These people are not drowning today. It’s not happening. We’re going to get them out." Then she grabbed a boogie board, got in the water with her husband, and they made their way towards those in need. Others followed until around 80 heroic individuals formed a human chain, which reportedly stretched 100 yards out into the water, to help the swimmers.
Together, Simmons and other beachergoers were able to rescue the trapped and exhausted swimmers — including Ursrey’s mother, who suffered a massive heart attack while trying to stay afloat.
"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," Simmons wrote in a Facebook post describing the incident.
After Ursrey and her family were saved, she expressed her gratitude for Simmons and the other beachgoers who risked their own lives to save others. "I owe my life and my family’s life to them. Without them, we wouldn’t be here," she told the Panama City News Herald.
from Mashable! http://on.mash.to/2vcYHSr