Human chain saves family from drowning

Local News

Dozens of people in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico built a human chain to save a family caught in a rip current.

It’s a testament to the power of the human spirit.  80 strangers coming together to form a human chain 100 yards into the treacherous waters of the Gulf of Mexico.  All to save the lives of ten strangers who were swept out to sea by a vicious rip current, tearing them away from the shore.

Roberta Ursrey says, “I’ve never seen anything like it in my entire life, because without them, I wouldn’t have my family.”

Tabitha Monroe says, “Once we heard the screams, we went to them.  She went to one, I went to the other, and then we got stuck, ourselves.” 

That’s when the cries of, “human chain!” formed among the hundreds of beachgoers in Panama City, Derek Simmons leading the charge.

Simmons says, “let’s try to get as many people as we can to grab hands, grab wrists; we just kept yelling at beach people, ‘we need help!’…  I’m an average Joe, not part of the military, I’m not part of the Coast Guard, [but] if somebody was dying in front of me I would do anything I could do to prevent it.”

Rip currents account for roughly 100 deaths every year.  Sadly, 31 people have already lost their lives to rip currents in 2017.  

Here’s a couple of tips, according to experts, how you can stay safe when you’re in the water:

Look for a change in the water, or if you see a line of sea foam or seaweed, those can be possible signs of a rip current.

If you get stuck in one, your first inclination might be to swim toward the shore; don’t do that.  You want to swim parallel to the shore.

Paula Faris, ABC News

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