A riptide swept away a Florida family. Then beachgoers formed a human chain.
When Jessica and Derek Simmons first saw the beach legs pausing to look out into the water, the young couple had simply assumed that someone had seen a shark.
It was Saturday night, after all, the peak summer in Panama City Beach for overheated Florida tourists through the curious marine life. Then they noticed intermittent lights on the walk, a police truck in the sand and about a dozen bullet heads about 100 meters beyond the beach, desperately asking for help.
Six members of the same family – four adults and two young children – and four other swimmers were swept away by a strong stream of harsh and deceptive hangover beneath the surface of the water.
“These people do not drown today,” said Jessica Simmons, said in Panama City Herald News. “This is not happening. Let’s get it done.”
She was a good swimmer and face without fear of adversity. But others had tried to get there and every previous rescue attempt had blocked more people.
There was no guard on duty, and law enforcement on the scene chose to wait for a rescue boat. The people on the beach had no rescue equipment, just training boards, surfboards and their arms and legs.
“Form a human chain!” They began to scream.
Roberta Ursrey was one of those captured in the turbulent waters of the tragedy. To 100 meters of the Gulf of Mexico, between the waves and the beggars Salt water, he heard the cries, he told The Washington Post.
Stephen Ursrey, 8, and his 11-year-old brother, Noah. (Courtesy of Roberta Ursrey)
At that time, Ursrey and the other eight people trapped with him had been in the water for about 20 minutes struggling for their lives. Ursrey and others had ventured into the water to save their two wires, Noah, 11, and Stephen, 8, who were separated from their families while the waves continued on their surfboards.
Tabatha Monroe and his wife, Brittany, in Panama City for a birthday get-away, were the first two to hear panic-stricken cries in children for help. The couple had to enter the water when they saw the children away from the shore. They swam and grabbed their surfboards.
But when they tried to return to the coast, women could not get away from the current.
They tried to swim straight and tried to swim sideways, Tabatha Monroe told The Washington Post, but nothing worked. After about 10 minutes, a couple of young men with surfboard hung Brittany and towed to the coast, as the number of people needing rescue rose.
Soon Ursrey, who had heard her children screaming at the beach, was also caught in the undertow, followed successively by her 27-year-old nephew, her 67-year-old mother and her 31-year-old husband. Another unidentified couple had trouble running the water nearby.