It was a horrifying moment as a mom drove her minivan with her three children inside straight into the pounding Atlantic Ocean.
In video of the incident, her terrified child can be seen waving and a desperate cry for help can be heard.
Vacationer Tim Tesseneer leapt from his car and ran to rescue the children and couldn't believe what he found.
On the scene, Tesseneer said, "If they're saying help, that's different!"
Tesseneer told INSIDE EDITION, "There was a kid on her lap fighting her with the steering wheel trying to steer away from the water and another kid in the back was screaming and crying, 'Help! Help! Our mommy is trying to kill us!' "
Civilians and lifeguards on Daytona Beach joined in the rescue. One man carried out a child in each arm, but their little sister was still inside, strapped into a booster seat.
"The kids were screaming back at me, 'There's a baby. There's a baby!'" said Tesseneer.
The 31-year-old mom emerged from the waves, then fell down again. Incredibly, as people struggled to save her youngest child, the mother—who is reportedly pregnant—can be seen in the video walking away. She looked back briefly, then walked on.
Moments later, a hero carried the three-year-old girl from the car in his arms just as the vehicle was swept further out by the pounding waves.
Sheli Muniz of Orlando's WKMG TV told INSIDE EDITION, "The latest is that the mother is undergoing mental health evaluation. The kids were released from the hospital today, so that is some good news. Right now, DCF which is the Department of Children and Families are performing background checks on relatives looking into placing these kids in the care of family members.
The lifeguards and passersby risked their lives to prevent a horrifying tragedy.
INSIDE EDITION's Paul Boyd asked, "You guys didn't hesitate for a moment to risk your own lives to try and save these kids. You're being called a hero today."
"It ain't about being a hero. Instincts, natural instincts took over to save the kids," said Tesseneer.