Global Media

Family Rescued from a Rip Current : 'These People Were God's Angels'

Family Rescued from a Rip Current : 'These People Were God's Angels'”

A group of 70 to 80 strangers saved the lives of nine people by banding together in a human chain that stretched far out into the surf off the shore of Florida's Panama City Beach.

"I seen my mom, 2 daughters, husband and nephew all together but I didn't see my boys so I went looking for them".

"A lot of people were like, 'There's no way we're getting in the water, we're going to get swept out, ' but I guess they just swallowed the pride pill and they just got in", Simmons said of watching the chain of strangers grow.

"At the very end we all started clapping and cheering because they were so happy over the fact that we accomplished it", Ms Simmons said.

For 20 minutes, Ursrey, the rest of her family as well as other swimmers were fighting for their lives.

The most hard to save was Ms Ursrey's 67-year-old mother, who had suffered a heart attack in the water and was described by Mr Simmons as "lifeless". They had all the tools to help a drowning victim, she said. Some of the helpers couldn't swim, so stayed in shallow water.

"I tried and tried and tried to swim out against it, behind it, every which way I could and I could not swim out of it, it was so strong", she told Inside Edition. I automatically thought SHARK. Roberta's mother, Barbara Franz, had a heart attack in the water.

"There was a guy in the water, saying, 'man, they're all stuck out there, the riptide's pulled them out". One by one, the drowning family members were pulled to the shore by the people in the human chain.

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"It was the most remarkable thing to see", said Jessica Simmons.

Beachgoers at Panama City Beach, Florida (US) were shocked when they heard the screams of people crying for help on the evening of July 8. Eventually, about 80 people were involved and got to within feet of the family. However, when Ursrey got out of the water and turned around, she realized she couldn't find her family (and we're talking about her entire family here, including Ursrey's husband, her mother, nephews and sons).

When Jessica made her way to Roberta, her head was barely above the water.

"She has some heart and stomach issues along with some pneumonia the doctors are having to deal with", the GoFundMe page states.

Ms Ursrey said she was so exhausted she blacked out and woke up on the sand. When out of the current, swim toward shore.

According to the National Ocean Service, about 100 people are killed from rip currents each year.

The boys had gotten stuck in a rip current, which is a strong but narrow current that flows away from the beach and can exceed more than 6 miles per hour, which is faster than an Olympic swimmer and can extend the length of a football field off the coast.

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