Human Chain Beach Rescue Caught in Video

Photo credit: Morgue file

For your taste of feel-good, confidence in humanity news, try this story out of Florida.

A family enjoying the beach in Panama City, Florida on Saturday got caught in rip currents as they boogie-boarded. From the shore, other beachgoers spotted their waving arms, heard their cries for help, and moved into rescuing formation.

“Moved into formation” meaning that approximately 80 people ended up forming a human chain from the family to the shore in order to pass them to safety.

According to CNN, mother Roberta Ursrey first realized her two sons, 8 and 11 years old, were in trouble when she lost sight of them and then spotted them flailing for help. She and other family members ran to their rescue, but got caught in the current as well. Others tried to help them, and got caught as well, bringing the total needing to be rescued up to 9. One bystander reported that she thought people were signaling that a shark was nearby until she realized the people were being pulled farther and farther out to sea.

A crowd gathered, at first watching helplessly, unsure what to do. “Those waves were so heavy and big and strong,” the bystander said.

When police officers and paramedics arrived, the first police officer to swim about swam back pretty quickly, making it clear that he couldn’t safely swim out to the stranded group.

Police informed the bystanders that they would have to wait for a boat to arrive, but bystanders decided that wasn’t good enough. Everyone started forming a chain, anchoring each other to the shore arm to arm; the stranded people were given boogie boards and then passed person to person back to safety.

Two people were sent to the hospital, but reports indicate there were no major injuries and everyone made it out alive.

The event was caught on camera, with everyone reportedly breaking into cheers and applause as the rescue succeeded.

According to CNN, rip currents are responsible for at least 100 deaths each year in the United States. Rip currents also account for approximately 80% of lifeguard rescues.  

The United States Lifesaving Association calls rip currents the leading surf hazard for beachgoers.  It advises “not to fight the current. Instead, swim in direction parallel to the shoreline to get out of the current, and then swim toward the shore. If you can’t swim, float or calmly tread water. And if none of that works, doing what Ursrey’s two sons did is the right move: face the shore, wave your arms and yell to get someone’s attention.”

Keep your summer fun fun by being as safe as possible.

And boost your faith in humanity by watching the rescue video.

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