Published: Wed, July 12, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Beachgoers form human chain to rescue Florida family

Beachgoers form human chain to rescue Florida family

"So we kept walking, and when we got over there, there was a guy in the water, saying, 'Man, they're all stuck out there, the riptide's pulled them out, I tried to go out there; if I go any farther, I'm going to get stuck'".

They tried to swim straight and they tried to swim sideways, Tabatha Monroe told The Washington Post, but nothing worked. The human chain was composed of 80 people stretching more than 100 yards out to Ursrey's family.

Ursrey just left the water but when she turned around, she noticed that her sons were already very far from the shore.

That's when beachgoer Jessica Simmons grabbed a boogie board and headed out to water to help the struggling family as her husband started a human chain with other people on the beach.

"They were trying their best to swim and everything but once you've been out there in a rip current for that long, it's like running a race all day long, it's just tiring", he said.

Eight people may owe their lives to dozens of complete strangers who lent them a hand, quite literally, this weekend.

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The Panama City Beach Police Department did not immediately reply to ABC News' request for comment. One by one, the drowning family members were pulled to the shore by the people in the human chain.

By the time Jessica Simmons reached Ursrey, the 34-year-old mother could hardly keep her head above water. She remembers telling rescuers to "save themselves" as she blacked out.

In an attempt to rescue her family, Ursey also found herself trapped in the powerful tide.

"I honestly thought I was going to lose my family that day", Ursrey said, via the News Herald. "Without them, we wouldn't be here". Simmons and her husband, Derek, eventually swam past approximately 80 people to hook the youngest boys and pass them into the human chain, which relayed them back to the shore. Her mother, who was also stuck in the 15-feet water, suffered a massive heart attack and almost died. Without them, we wouldn't be here'. She was resuscitated and is recovering in the hospital.

But that's when Jessica Simmons of Alabama jumped in to help.

"People who didn't even know each other went hand-in-hand in-line into the water".

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