Rip currents can be treacherous. Last Saturday, ten swimmers — six members of a single family, four adults and two boys — and four others, were carried out into the Gulf of Mexico by a rip-current off Panama City Beach in the Florida panhandle. Apparently, the two boys on boogie boards were initially caught in the current and the rest of the family was trapped when they tried to rescue them.
Remarkably, all those caught in the current were rescued safely when beach-goers, most strangers to each other, formed a human chain from the shore into the rip current. At its peak, upwards of 80 people locked arms and legs to form the chain to reach the swimmers. The chain was reported to have extended out around 300 feet, starting in shallow water and ending in water around 15′ deep. Others helped by paddling out on surf and boogie boards to help the trapped swimmers reach the chain.
As reported by the Washington Post: There was no lifeguard on duty, and law enforcement on the scene had opted to wait for a rescue boat. People on the beach had no rescue equipment, only boogie boards, surf boards and their arms and legs. … “Form a human chain!” they started shouting. … Nearly an hour after they first started struggling, just as the sun prepared to set, all 10 of the stranded swimmers were safely back on shore.
Thanks to Alaric Bond for contributing to this post.