Beachgoers spot drowning family at sea, form 80-person-long human chain to save them

Nothing beats a hot day at the beach.

In the summer, one of the best things to do is to fill the car up with beach blankets, grab your friends and drive to find some sand and the sun. Although these trips are a fixture of life for anyone who lives on the beach, the ocean can sometimes still be a dangerous place for weak swimmers.

For one Florida family, a normal day at the beach turned into something much scarier.


Source: Ursrey

It all started at Panama City Beach when Roberta Ursrey noticed her sons were too far from the shore.

To save her boys, Ursrey and her other family members decided to swim out themselves to get them back. Little did they know that they were swimming into a riptide which carried all of them too far out to sea. “I honestly thought I was going to lose my family that day,” Ursrey said. “It was like, ‘Oh God, this is how I’m going.’”

Now, there were nine people stranded in the ocean—all in danger of drowning.


Source: Simmons

It didn’t take long for other beach-goers to notice something was wrong.

One of those beach-goers was Jessica Simmons, a woman from Alabama. With the help of others, Simmons had an ingenious idea to try and save the Ursrey family:

They decided to form a human chain to save them.


Source: Simmons

Working together, the locals held together and swam out to the stranded family.

According to some reports, there may have been up to 80 people participating in the chain. The strangers were able to band together, successfully grab the family, and slowly pull them back to shore.



Although everyone made it back to shore, Ursrey herself suffered a heart attack as a result of the incident.

Fortunately, an ambulance was able to take her to the hospital and revive her. Still, Ursrey is nothing but grateful for all the strangers on the beach that day. She says the experience was nothing short of a miracle:

“I am so grateful. 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.”


The Ursrey’s story is a reminder of the power of human kindness.

By combining their efforts, everyone present that day was able to work together to do what they couldn’t otherwise. In doing so, they saved a family’s lives. Above all, this story goes to show how much we can accomplish by caring about others and thinking creatively.

While Ursrey is in stable condition now, the family has started a GoFundMe page to help pay for their mother’s medical expenses.

Our hearts go out to the Ursrey family—and salute to all the helpers on the beach that day!

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Sources: USA Today, News Herald

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