Florida: 80 men chained up to save the family from drowning

Laura Christensen
July 13, 2017

"I witnessed many courageous citizens risking their safety and their lives to form this human chain".

The incident happened on the Saturday afternoon.

However, no mother can watch her children drown, so Ursrey began to swim out to her boys along with other members of her family, including her mother.

"I can hold my breath underwater and go around a Olympic pool easily!"

"From what we were told, they were instructed to stay on the beach because there was a boat on the way, but we were in the water for nearly an hour and there was no boat", he said. In the chaos, her mother suffered a heart attack in the water.

"On my way out there were some people coming out telling me not to go out after them".

They started with the children and by the time they got to Ursrey the woman could barely keep her head above water. Roberta's two daughter managed to get out of the water, but other members of her family, including herself, got stuck in the killer waves of the beach. Unfortunately, the current at Panama City Beach was strong and trapped them as well. Bay County relies on a flag system (green for low hazard, yellow for medium hazard, red for high hazard, and double red when the water is so unsafe that the beach is close to the public) for unguarded parts of the beach.

"I automatically thought they had seen a shark", Simmons told the Panama City News Herald. I tell my son over & over don't go.

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Simmons was happy to see so many people band together to help rescue Ursrey's family.

"I knew we had to do something". Stranger Jessica Simmons and her husband were on the beach at the same time and noticed the family was in danger and chose to do something about it.

There was no life guards on duty and people on the beach had no rescue equipment, only boogie boards, surf boards and their arms and legs.

"To see people from different races and genders come into action to help TOTAL strangers is absolutely fantastic to see!" wrote Simmons.

Ursey, her mother, her husband and a few other people went out to try and rescue the two young boys but they all got stuck in the riptide. "Pause and just IMAGINE that", Simmons wrote on Facebook.

"These people are not drowning today..."

That's where Jessica and Derek Simmons came in. "I had to have help, which I was eternally grateful for that". He said: 'No, those people out there are drowning, I can't get to them because the current's too strong'. "My theory was, let's get enough people, we'll get out there and pull them in and everybody can finish having a good rest of the evening".

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