Beachgoers form human chain to rescue swimmers caught in rip current

PHOTO: Derek and Jessica Simmons, of Panama City, Florida, are pictured in this undated handout photo.

More than 40 good Samaritans formed a human chain to wade into the Gulf of Mexico off of Panama City, Florida, to rescue swimmers caught in a powerful rip current over the weekend, according to news reports that circulated Tuesday. Two elementary-school-age boys on boogie boards got caught in the current, then their mother, grandmother, and uncle swam out to help, as did two onlookers, Brittany Monroe, 25, and her wife, Tabatha Monroe, 35. They all got caught in the current, too. “The only thing that popped into my mind was if you’ve ever watched ants, when one of their babies is in trouble and can’t move, they start making a chain in order to pass them down the line to get them to safety,” said Derek Simmons, who came up with the rescue plan with his wife, Jessica Simmons. “That’s the only thing I was thinking of, if we’re arm to arm, we can get them.”

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