In danger of drowning and completely desperate, 80 brave strangers came forward to save Stephen and Noah Ursey from what could have been a horrible tragedy. The siblings, ages 8 and 11, were recently swimming off the coast of the Florida panhandle when a rip tide trapped them too far to make it back to shore. With no lifeguard on duty, they were in serious trouble.
When family members—including Stephen and Noah’s mother, father, and grandmother—realized what had happened, they swam out to save them. Unfortunately, they too were engulfed by the 15-foot waves to help. Other rescuers then risked their safety to assist the family but were also trapped by the dangerous rip current. “Help us! Help us!” They reportedly yelled. “We can’t do it!” Now, they too needed rescuing.
In a cell phone video of the traumatic event, there were nine heads bobbing in the choppy waters. That’s when some quick thinking from nearby beach goers saved the lives of those involved. Strangers of all shapes and sizes began wading into the water—15 people rapidly grew to 30, and eventually “a small army” joined into this heartwarming rescue effort.
So, how did they do it? The solution was simple but ingenious; folks linked arm in arm to tether themselves and safely reach the exhausted victims. Once they got to them, strong swimmers Jessica Simons and her husband Derrick used surfboards to ferry them to shore.
Everyone was recovered safely, although one woman who had to be taken the hospital after the rescue operation. She suffered a heart attack while battling the riptide but was ultimately okay.
At a time when the world seems more divided than ever, stories like this prove that we’re always stronger together. The 80 individuals who risked their lives to save the boys and first responders didn’t venture in the water because they agreed with their political point of view; they did it because there were people in danger and it was the right thing to do.
Watch the amazing rescue effort below: