A family was rescued after being swept away by a rip current while swimming in the ocean off the Massachusetts coast, a harrowing journey that was captured with an underwater camera.
Derrick Johns, his wife and daughter Erynn, 16, of Texas were swimming at Surfside Beach in Nantucket Tuesday when the current pulled and tossed them.
Derrick Johns, a former Marine, said in a Skype interview with ABC affiliate WCVB-TV in Boston that the ordeal was the scariest moment of his life.
"I did a few tours overseas with the Marines and I never felt that kind of fatigue or fear," Johns said.
Erynn Johns was holding a video camera attached to a selfie stick when the current swept the family away. The camera flipped and spun, submerged as Erynn struggled to keep her head above water.
"I inhaled a lot of water, at that point and I just I couldn't breathe under there," she said.
The father and daughter gripped onto the selfie stick, and Erynn Johns credited the object with helping in her rescue.
While Erynn Johns was able to reach the shoreline, her father was pulled away.
Lifeguards and good Samaritans, including an unidentified man wearing orange swim trunks, rushed to the man’s aid. Derrick Johns was helped to shore and put on the sand, struggling to breathe.
"I was semi-conscious on the beach and when they put me in the truck, they said my oxygen level was really low," he later told WCVB.
The family, recovering after their ordeal, says they hope to find the man in the orange trunks who helped to save their lives.
Experts say people caught in a rip current should stay calm, avoid fighting the current and, instead, swim parallel to the shoreline, waiting for the current to weaken.