PERDIDO KEY, Fla. (WKRG) — A Mother’s Day full of fun almost turned tragic after four teenagers swimming at Johnson Beach in Perdido Key got caught in a rip current. It was a miraculous rescue that would not have been possible without complete strangers stepping in to help — two in particular: a Pensacola police officer and a local nurse.
Pensacola Police shared the story on Facebook, and the post has more than 16,000 shares.
“I literally saw my kids’ lives flash before my eyes,” said Kenya Nguyen, the mother of two of the teens rescued said. “It was the scariest, yet the happiest day of my life all at the same time. I was sure that I was not going to have two children and that’s all I have is two children, but I was certain I wasn’t going to go home with any.”
People on the beach formed a human chain to get the four teenagers out of the water. Pensacola police officer Anthony Giorgio pulled two out by himself. Erica Shelley, a nurse enjoying Mother’s Day with her children, also jumped to action pulling one of the teens to safety.
“I don’t feel like a hero, I feel like I reacted just like anyone else would,” Shelley said. “Looking back, I could have easily become another victim because it was crazy rough out there. But you’re not thinking about that in the situation. You’re just like these kids needs this and you just react.”
Once they were all out of the water Shelley made sure all of the kids were medically okay and safe on the shore, particularly the boy who was the farthest out and took in the most water. She told us what he said once she pulled him out, “Your only job is to cough up the water and keep talking to me, and he kept saying I’m going to die, and I said keep talking to me you aren’t going to die. You’re safe now, and I think that was the biggest thing was staying calm because everything was so chaotic around him and he was so scared.”
Shelley and others we spoke to say the true hero through all of this is Officer Giorgio. The moms of all four teens say they have something special planned for him on Father’s Day as a special thank you.