JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- As Beryl approaches Jacksonville, city leaders are on high alert. Mayor Alvin Brown announced Saturday that the beaches would be closed on Sunday because of gusting winds and dangerous rip currents created by the tropical storm.
One local family is touting the holiday as a 'Memorial Day Weekend miracle' after a group of swimmers were rescued from the ocean. Nassau County Fire and Rescue along with The Jacksonville Fire & Rescue Department and The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office responded around 4:30 p.m. to Little Talbot Island State Park. That's where crews rescued 7 people who were swept away by a massive wave and couldn't make it back to shore.
"The current is pretty strong today. We have whipping waves and I think it was just a matter of two boys on boogie boards having a good time and got too far out," said JFRD District Chief Jacob Blanton.
Three family members and two bystanders went into the ocean in an attempt to rescue the two young boys. They were also overtaken by strong rip currents.
"I thought they went too far so I went out to get them," said 13-year-old Edward Hernandez. Hernandez had to be rescued himself after trying to save his little brother. "A big wave came in my face so I closed my eyes... they were too far when I went to get them."
Rescue crews spent an hour searching the sea with jet skis, boats and a helicopter. All seven people were rescued.
According to Blanton, one of the bystanders was taken to the hospital in serious condition but he is expected to be fine.
The city also made changes at Huguenot and Hanna parks.
The opening of the parks will be delayed until 9 a.m. when all the lifeguards are on duty. The parks normally open at 6 a.m.