ST. PETE BEACH -- A woman was seriously hurt Saturday while trying to rescue a child from a current, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said.
According to a public information officer, Samar Aboukhdair, 36, and her six children, as well as two other children, were visiting St. Pete Beach at the southernmost point of Pass-a-Grille Beach about 6 p.m. Saturday.
Aboukhdair and four of the children were swimming when a witness heard children screaming from the water. The children apparently got caught in a strong current.
Gretchen Ennen-Cooper said she and her husband Scott were visiting from Ocala and were on the beach when the children started calling for help. He helped rescue two of the children from the water, but he was unable to reach the woman, she said.
Three other Good Samaritans helped in the rescue of the children.
Witnesses say Aboukhdair had gone after the third child and became caught in the strong tidal current herself. One of the older children also went in the water with Aboukhdair and also became caught in the strong tidal current.
St. Petersburg Fire Rescue rescued Aboukhdair and the two children. She was taken to a local hospital, where she was in critical but stable condition.
Three of the children were taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure. They have been released.
Deputies contacted Aboukhdair's husband, who is out of the country. He was reported to be taking the first flight home. The children will be in the care of a family friend who picked up the children at the father's request.
The Aboukhdair children range in age from 13 to 5 years old.
The parents of the two neighbor children, ages 11 and 12, were contacted and came to pick up the children.
Stay with WTSP.com as we get more information on this developing story.
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