Beachgoers form 80-person human chain to save drowning family

by: Michelle Ewing, Cox Media Group National Content Desk Updated:

PANAMA CITY, Fla. - Dozens of beachgoers in Panama City, Florida, teamed up to form a human chain to save a family from drowning.

According to the Panama City News Herald, Roberta Ursrey heard her sons shouting for help in the water Saturday. But when she and other family members swam out to save them, they also became trapped by the rip current. As the nine family members struggled in the water, Ursrey said her mother had a heart attack.

"I honestly thought I was going to lose my family that day," Ursrey told the News Herald. "It was like, 'Oh, God, this is how I'm going.'"


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But that's when Jessica Simmons of Alabama jumped in to help. She swam to the family with a boogie board as her husband and other beachgoers began to form a human chain from the shore, the News Herald reported. The good Samaritans then pulled each family member back to the beach.

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“It was the most remarkable thing to see,” Simmons told the News Herald. “These people who don’t even know each other and they trust each other that much to get them to safety.”

Ursrey, who said her mother was hospitalized and her nephew broke his hand, said she's grateful for her rescuers.

“These people were God’s angels that were in the right place at the right time," Ursrey told the News Herald. "I owe my life and my family’s life to them. Without them, we wouldn’t be here.”

Read more here.


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