Remember when you used to have to ask a total stranger if they minded taking a picture for you? Well, thanks to cell phones and selfie sticks, we no longer need to have those awkward moments!
A selfie stick might seem like a “lifesaver” when it comes to capturing the perfect photo or video. But for one family, it really did become a life-saving tool while they were vacationing in Nantucket, Massachusetts.
The Johns family from Texas headed to the beach for a day of sun and fun.
Like most tourists, 16-year-old Erynn and her dad Derrick decided to take a dip in the ocean. Before going in the teen hooked her GoPro camera up to a selfie stick to film their experience. Little did she know though, she’d end up capturing a scary one too.
Everything seemed just fine at first.
Erynn and her father swam around and hopped with the waves. There were others in the water as well – simply enjoying the beautiful summer day in Nantucket. But then all of that changed.
The teen and her dad became caught in a rip current, and the camera recorded the terrifying ordeal.
In the video, the pair discover they can’t swim to the shore (despite both being athletic individuals). They’re forced to fight the rip current, which the NOAA describes as being “powerful, narrow channels of fast-moving water.”
That’s when the selfie stick comes into play.
Derrick, who’s a former Marine, grabs onto the selfie stick and uses it to try and pull his daughter to safety. His wife, Jennifer, also tried to come to their aid but got trapped in the rip current as well.
In an interview with WCVB-TV, Derrick said:
“I did a few tours overseas with the Marines, and I never felt that kind of fatigue or fear.”
Rip currents are frightening and can cause panic for a person who’s caught in one. On the NOAA website, they say:
“Panicked swimmers often try to counter a rip current by swimming straight back to shore—putting themselves at risk of drowning because of fatigue.”
If you do find yourself trapped in a rip current, there’s a recommendation for getting out.
“…don’t fight it! Swim parallel to the shore and swim back to land at an angle.”
The teen and her parents were very lucky that day.
Derrick managed to pull his daughter closer to the shore with the selfie stick. Others also jumped to help the John family during the incident, including lifeguards and beach-goers. Fortunately, they all ended up being okay in the end.
There was one good Samaritan, in particular, that the family wanted to offer their thanks to. According to The Boston Globe, they tracked down the man in the orange bathing suit, Tommy Vach, and had a chance to say “thank you” for his part in the rescue.
Vach told The Boston Globe:
“For me it’s a no-brainer. They were in dire need.”
It’s a scary situation that made national headlines.
While most people don’t think of a selfie stick as being more than a tool for taking awesome photos and videos – in this case, it really did end up helping save the day! Perhaps it’s another reason to not go on vacation without one.
Press play on the video below to see the footage for yourself!
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