Fla. officer swims 'football fields' to save kids from rip current
“For comparison, go sprint 100 yards on sand, swim fifty yards a couple of times, and then 100 yards more while carrying another human. You get the picture,” the department said
By Suzie Ziegler
PENSACOLA, Fla. — A heroic feat of physical strength and endurance by one cop has caught the attention of the Florida panhandle community. According to the Pensacola Police Department, Officer Anthony Giorgio is responsible for saving not one, not two, but three lives last week at the beach.
The drama unfolded on Mother’s Day, police said, as Giorgio was enjoying his day off with his family. Giorgio was just packing up to leave when he heard screaming, police said. The officer turned, saw four kids caught in a rip current, and sprinted toward the water.
Bystanders had tried to form a human chain to reach the kids, but they were already "about half a football field out," witnesses said.
“There just weren't enough people. One adult had gone in the water to get the kids, but now she was struggling too,” police said in a Facebook post. “You've heard this story way too many times before and you know how this could have turned out.”
Giorgio entered the water with another man, a Coast Guardsman, who was also nearby. Together they fought the rip current to reach the flailing kids, police said. But Giorgio wasn’t done.
“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,” the agency wrote. “For comparison, this afternoon, go sprint 100 yards on sand, swim fifty yards a couple of times, and then 100 yards more while carrying another human.”
Now, one of the adults who had initially gone to help the kids was in trouble. Giorgio went into the water for a third time, with the Coast Guardsman and two others, to reach the woman and bring her safely to shore.
Giorgio acknowledged how easily the situation could have gone south, police said – not just for the kids but for himself as well.
“Giorgio is quick to deflect attention,” the agency said. “Many others played important roles too; Harvard shirt guy, former lifeguard guy, blonde nurse, Greg's son, and white beard guy. He didn't get their names, but thought it was important that you knew about them.”