Jessica and Derek Simmons were enjoying time with family before the drowning happened near the M.B. Miller County Pier around 6:30 p.m. Saturday. It was at this point that Ursrey discovered her boys were caught in the riptide, and she quickly dove in to rescue them, followed by her husband, her adult nephew, and her 67-year-old mother.
Rosalind Beckton, one of the witness to the act, in a Facebook post, wrote, “Today we witness some REAL HERO’S and it wasn’t THE GUY’S IN UNIFORM”.
“I honestly thought I was going to lose my family that day”, Ursrey said, via the News Herald.
If you can’t swim, float or calmly tread water.
It’s summer and people love to spend their weekends relaxing by the shore.
Roberta Ursrey was on the beach when she spotted her two sons screaming for help in the water, WJHG reports.
At first, a few people joined hands, but the human chain organized flawlessly, with one bystander after another adding themselves to the chain making its way out to the nine people in trouble in the water.
“I knew we had to do something”.
Simmons is used to helping people, she once walked 11 miles after a tornado to help people clean up after the storm and mend their lives.
“She kept telling us to let her go and save ourselves”, Jessica Simmons said.
The chain eventually succeeded in pulling the family members ashore, in an effort participant Jessica Simmons said lasted over an hour. That person told Simmons and his wife that the group was drowning and that he couldn’t get to them because the current was too strong. That’s when they heard a commotion and saw people pointing at two boys who had become caught in a riptide. However, when Ursrey got out of the water and turned around, she realized she couldn’t find her family.
“I gave the little boy a boogie board and told the mom to hang on to it”.
All the swimmers were pulled safely to shore, while two were taken to a local hospital for further treatment, according to the police report.
Ten beachgoers, including a family of six and four other swimmers, learned that they can depend on the strength and determination of strangers in a dire situation. “Without them, we wouldn’t be here”.
According to the Washington Post, the whole ordeal has given the Ursreys, who just moved to Florida from the state of Georgia a month ago, a newfound respect for the power of the water. She was so out of it, that we couldn’t keep her on the board. Among the onlookers was Jessica Mae Simmons, whose husband told the crowd to form a chain.