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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Dozens form human chain to rescue swimmer in Panama City Beach

Dozens of people risked their lives Sunday to save a swimmer caught in a rip current in Florida.
Dozens of rescuers formed a human chain in the Gulf of Mexico Sunday. (Photo: Amber Lewis via WJHG-TV)

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WTHR) - Dozens of people risked their lives Sunday to save a swimmer caught in a rip current in Florida.

The group formed a human chain stretching from the shore to the middle of the ocean in Panama City Beach. Witnesses said anywhere from 50-100 people were part of the chain.

"I immediately ran over to see what was going on, and there was two people that had actually... they went so far out past the waves, it was a double red flag, that they could not, the current was so rough, that they could not literally swim back in," said Shelly Callaway, who shared photos of the rescue with WJHG-TV.

All of the swimmers were saved, but four more people who were part of the chain ended up also needing to be rescued.

Police say 90 people have been pulled from the Gulf of Mexico in Panama City Beach since Friday, including 17 on Monday alone. They say ignoring the double red flag warning could result in a criminal citation.

The Bay County Sheriff's Department said those who see a swimmer in distress should call 911 and tell the dispatcher which beach access rescuers should go to, then clear a path for rescuers to get to the water.