A mother was undergoing a mental health evaluation after driving a van with her three children inside into the ocean in Daytona Beach, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Department stated in a news release Wednesday.
All four family members were safely rescued in the incident, which began about 5 p.m. Tuesday and was captured on video.
A beach safety officer near the beach approach on Silver Beach Avenue noticed a Honda Odyssey with a South Carolina tag driving recklessly.
The van drove parallel to the shore before turning and driving into 3 to 4 feet of water, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
Video showed the waves crashing into the van as rescuers rushed to get everyone out of the vehicle before it filled with water.
With the help of bystanders, beach safety officers were able to remove the woman and her three children, including a toddler who was strapped into a booster seat, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
One witness told WESH that one of the children inside was screaming that their mom was trying to kill them.
“The two in the back seat was crying, with their arms out saying, ‘Our mommy’s trying to kill us, please help,’” witness Tim Tesseneer told WESH.
There were no serious injuries from the incident, but the family was taken by ambulance to Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach as a precaution, the Sheriff’s Department stated.
Beach safety officers eventually attached a tow rope to the van and pull it to shore.
The three children were turned over to the care of the Florida Department of Children and Families while the Sheriff’s Office and County Beach Safety investigated the incident.