A group rescue effort caught on film is dropping jaws across the country, restoring faith in humanity along the way.
The scene began Sunday morning on Panama City Beach in Florida, where double red flags were raised along the shoreline. The flags indicated extreme danger in the water.
Tropical Storm Barry was on its way across the Gulf of Mexico, heading for Louisiana. The storm was creating rip currents that could easily drag swimmers underwater.
Nevertheless, beachgoers noticed two figures in the ocean. The man and woman had gone into the water and were caught in a raging rip current.
The situation was so dire that even professional rescuers called to the scene struggled to save the swimmers. WTVT reported that a sheriff’s deputy also became trapped in the water while attempting to help.
As the danger escalated, the rescue was proving impossible for one person to carry out. Sometimes, the only solution is to get everyone to work together — and that’s exactly what the group of beachgoer bystanders did.
Brian Daniels, who was visiting the beach on vacation, recorded a massive group of beachgoers coming together to form a human chain. Clinging to the chain for support, rescuers were finally able to reach the man and woman in the water.
According to WTHR, witnesses say 50-100 people formed the human chain to perform the jaw-dropping rescue.
In a miraculous display, the two were pulled from the raging tides, and the struggling sheriff’s deputy was also saved. Four people who were a part of the chain also needed to be rescued.
Thankfully all parties in this situation were brought safely to shore, but that hasn’t been the case for every daring swimmer this hurricane season. Rescuers were called to pull swimmers from the ocean at least 40 times on Sunday.
“PLEASE STAY OUT OF THE WATER,” Panama City Beach Fire Rescue wrote in a cautionary Facebook post. “Non-stop calls for rescues by members of Beach and Surf and our Fire Rescue members.”
One swimmer was pronounced dead on the scene after rescuers pulled him from the water on Sunday, WMBB reported.
“Finding chaos and rendering calm is why we are here,” Panama City Beach Fire Rescue wrote in a follow-up Facebook comment.
“Although many don’t heed the warnings, you’re all worth the risks. Our hope is that by making these posts, the masses will be informed of what we risk, everything, when we cross the thresholds of our firehouses.”
If you notice red flags flying on the beach, never attempt to swim anyway. Rip currents are deadly, even for the strongest of swimmers, and disobeying red flags can even result in a criminal citation. Please stay safe this summer!
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