PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — A Texas family is counting their blessings tonight following a trip to Panama City Beach. The Allen family came to Bay County last week on vacation, but a relaxing morning swim quickly turned tense as the gulf swept their young daughter out to sea.
“I don’t know who he was, where he came from but he made a big difference,” said Mother, Melissa Allen.
The Allen family came from Texas last week to stay at the Shores of Panama for vacation.
Flags stood at single red on Tuesday but the family says they have been coming here for years and were experienced swimmers.
They headed to a sandbar, but didn’t realize there was a drop off nearby.
That’s when their 10 year old daughter Riley started getting swept out into a rip current.
“She kept going under the water and I was panicking because I couldn’t see her. She kept going under and then every once in a while she’ll pop back up and grab some air,” said Allen.
Riley’s mother, Melissa Allen, started calling out to her husband for help.
Lifeguards soon showed up, but a good samaritan had already jumped in to take over.
“My husband has mentioned multiple times and I think the same thing, we wouldn’t have lasted for the lifeguard coming had this guy not been pushing us away from those waves. So he was extremely brave,” said Allen.
The stranger helped push them to safety.
“I just, I thank God that this guy volunteered to come help us out, but also that he had those flippers,”
They spoke briefly on the sand, but then he disappeared.
“By the time my husband and I turned around that guy was gone,” said Allen.
Describing him as a man in his 30s with a shaved head, the allens say they cannot express their gratitude enough.
“Whoever he was, I’m extremely thankful, it all worked out really well. We went down there with three kids and we came back with three kids,” said Allen.
The incident happened behind the Shores of Panama on Tuesday, June 23rd around ten am.
If you or someone you know is the good samaritan and helped the Allen family rescue their daughter, please reach out to us and we can provide you with the families’ information.