Florida Beachgoers Form Human Chain to Rescue Family in Water | NBC 6 South Florida
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Florida Beachgoers Form Human Chain to Rescue Family in Water

"These people are not drowning today," one fast-acting woman remembers telling herself when she saw people drowning

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Strangers on a Florida beach formed an 80-person human chain to rescue nine members of a family who had been caught in a riptide and pulled too far from shore Saturday. (Published Tuesday, July 11, 2017)

    Strangers on a Florida beach formed an 80-person human chain to rescue nine members of family who had been caught in a riptide and pulled too far from shore Saturday.

    Roberta Ursrey and her family were enjoying the day at M.B. Miller County Pier on the Gulf of Mexico when she noticed her sons were missing, the Northwest Florida Daily News reported. She went looking for them and soon heard them screaming from the water that they were trapped by the current.

    Others warned her not to go in the water, but Ursrey, her mother and five other family members swam to the boys' aid, but then found themselves also trapped in 15-feet of water.

    Jessica Simmons, who had stopped with her husband at the beach for dinner, had just found a discarded boogie board when she saw people pointing at the water. She thought they were pointing at a shark, but when she realized people were drowning, she jumped on the board and began swimming toward Ursrey's family.

    How Would the East Coast Hyperloop Compare to World’s Largest Tunnels?

    [NATL] How Would the East Coast Hyperloop Compare to World’s Largest Tunnels?

    Elon Musk’s proposed Hyperloop from New York to Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., would stretch over 250 miles. If built, how would that compare to the world’s largest tunnels?

    (Published Friday, July 21, 2017)

    "These people are not drowning today," Simmons remembers telling herself. "It's not happening. We are going to get them out."

    Meanwhile, Simmons' husband and some other men started a human chain to bring everyone back to shore. Some couldn't swim, so stayed in shallow water. Eventually, about 80 people were involved and got to within feet of the family.

    Simmons, her husband and some others then towed the family to the chain, which passed them back to shore.

    "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 lengthy Facebook post, recounting the incident.

    Ursrey's mother suffered a major heart attack during the ordeal and remains hospitalized. A nephew suffered a broken hand. Otherwise, everyone was safe.

    "I am so grateful," Ursrey said. "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."

    Simmons said she was impressed by everyone working together to rescue the family.

    "It's so cool to see how we have our own lives and we're constantly at a fast pace, but when somebody needs help, everybody drops everything and helps," Simmons told the newspaper. "That was really inspiring to see that we still have that.

    "With everything going on in the world, we still have humanity," she added.

    Get the latest from NBC 6 anywhere, anytime

    • Download the App

      Available for IOS and Android