A teen and a family friend on spring break were killed as they saved the lives of children who had been caught in rip currents near Pensacola, Florida.
Bryce Brooks, 16, from Atlanta, was able to save the lives of the children who appeared to be drowning, WSB reported.
Bryce’s father, Alfred “Shivy” Brooks, said his son saw the children, whom the family did not know, being swept away by the rip currents and jumped in to save them.
Rip currents are narrow channels of fast-moving water, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. About 100 people die each year after getting stuck in them.
When Bryce needed help himself, family friend Charles “Chuck” Johnson II jumped in to save him, WEAR reported. Both did not survive.
“Being selfless, our son Bryce, while being pulled by the currents himself, literally called for help, not for himself, but he was calling for help for the little kids that he was looking out for,” Brooks told WSB. “Bryce is a hero. He literally saved the lives of four kids at the expense of his own.”
Officials did not release the names or ages of the children Bryce saved, other than saying that three people were flown to an area hospital in critical condition while the fourth was taken in serious condition, according to WEAR.
There were no lifeguards at the beach where the family was vacationing. Officials said the reason is that the area — Johnson Beach — is mostly on private property, WEAR reported.
Escambia County officials however said they will be installing signs warning that there are no lifeguards and additional flag poles alerting people to the rip current risk, the Florida news station reported.