On Mother's Day Sunday (May 9) an off-duty Pensacola, FL, police officer was enjoying a beach outing with his family when he heard the distressed yells of four children caught in a rip current and being pulled out into gulf.
The Pensacola PD reports on Facebook that bystanders tried to form a human chain to reach them, but they were "about half a football field out." One adult had gone in the water to get the kids, but now she was struggling too.
"Officer Anthony Giorgio pretty quickly assessed just how bad this was about to get and took off at a dead sprint. He entered the water along with another man, Coast Guard Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Reece Raxter. They fought the chop and rip current to reach the kids. Officer Giorgio grabbed one kid, who was in and out of consciousness and swam him to shore. He then went back into the gulf and grabbed another child, and brought him to shore with the help of an unknown man. Remember, this is fifty yards out," police say.
Once all the children were safely on shore, Giorgio launched himself into the water one more time to rescue the woman who tried to help the children but got into trouble herself. Along with Raxter and two other people, Giorgia brought the woman in safely using a kiddie float.
"Back on the beach, Giorgio and others started first aid and were relieved to see the Park Rangers and Escambia Fire Rescue show up," police say.
Giorgio said others played important roles in the rescue, but he didn't get their names. He identified them as "Harvard shirt guy," "former lifeguard guy," "blonde nurse," "Greg's son," and "white beard guy."
After the story of the incident was posted on the Pensacola PD's Facebook page, a woman named Linh Nguyen commented:
"I am the mother of one of the child and the aunt of the others. I’m soaked in tears trying to comment to this post. Words cannot describe how thankful and grateful we are for Officer Giorgio and all the selfless people who put their lives on the line to save our kids. It would have been a tragic week for my family. I know after this day our lives will go on but I promise we will never forget how you’ve made a difference in our lives. We will now be able to celebrate my niece’s birthday and attend my nephew’s graduation next week. Thank you Officer Anthony Georgio!!
"Also BM2 Reece Raxter, PR1 Joey Charles, Miranda Varela, Erica Shelley, Melissa Brown, Stacey Gilreath and all others on the beach whose names I missed that helped or tried to help our kids that day. We are so THANKFUL for each and everyone you.
"These kids mean the world to us and we will never forget the rescue and how you all have given them back their future."