80 Strangers Heroically Rescue Family Caught in Riptide
Lifestyle| | By Margo Gothelf
When a family was in need of help, a group of strangers didn’t hesitate to run to the rescue. Roberta Ursrey and her family were relaxing on the M.B. Miller County Pier near the Gulf of Mexico when the unthinkable happened. Ursrey quickly realized her sons were missing and had been trapped in the water. The riptide current was extremely strong and they could not swim back to land.
Ursrey, her mother, and five other family members hurried and swam out in the water hoping to rescue them. However, the riptide caught them as well, trapping them all in 15 feet of water. Luckily for Ursrey and her family, several people on the beach noticed them struggling in water. Beachgoer Jessica Simmons saw a discarded boogie board and began to swim out in the direction of the family. “These people are not drowning today,” Simmons told the Panama City News Herald, regarding her rescue attempt. “It’s not happening. We are going to get them out.” While Simmons was swimming out to sea, her husband started a human chain on land. He gathered about 80 strangers who didn’t hesitate to help out. The chain stretched out about 100 yards and got within feet of 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 Panama City News Herald. “That was really inspiring to see that we still have that. The human chain was incredibly successful and was able to rescue Ursrey and her family. Ursrey doesn’t remember the rescue, and she passed out as soon as she returned to shore. Her mother suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized. Also, her nephew suffered a broken hand. Everyone else remained uninjured in the rescue. “I am so grateful,” Roberta Ursrey said to the Panama City News Herald. “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 was super impressed by how everyone came together to work towards rescuing the family in need. “It was the most remarkable thing to see,” Simmons said to the Panama City News Herald. “These people who don’t even know each other and they trust each other that much to get them to safety.”
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