The incredible moments rescuers saved a pregnant and depressed mother and her children after she drove them into the ocean in a murder-suicide attempt have been captured on camera.
Dramatic footage emerged of rescuers rushing to save the children from the submerged car on Daytona Beach, Florida, as huge waves crashed against it on Tuesday afternoon.
Witnesses said they heard the children - two girls and a boy, aged three, nine and 10 - screaming that their mother was trying to kill them.
Tim Tesseneer, from Rutherfordton, North Carolina told WESH 2 he was one of the first rescuers to reach the children after the mother made a sharp turn off the road and drove into the ocean.
He said: "The two in the back seat were crying, with their arms out saying, 'Our mommy's trying to kill us, please help'."
Video of the rescue shows a lifeguard carrying two children away from the sinking van when the children tell them there was another child inside.
Mr Tesseneer added: "The kids are like, 'No there's a baby. There's a baby'. She (the mother) wouldn't say a word. She didn't tell us nothing about a baby.
"She had this look on her face, I can't describe it. It was just an awful blank look, like spaced out look."
In video taken by Simon Besner, a tourist from Canada, the woman can be seen outside the van as lifeguards try to pull her children from the vehicle.
Witnesses described her hopping out of the car window as her screaming children remained seat-belted in the back. Waves nearly pushed her under the van.
Mr Besner said: "It was a bit terrifying."
In the video several men frantically try to get to the third and youngest child through the hatchback and the driver's side door as waves lap over the front of the minivan.
The small child is eventually pulled to safety. It was later revealed that the mother had been interviewed by Florida police just hours before - but officers let her return to her young family.
The unidentified woman's family called Daytona Beach Police to report her acting strangely just hours before the incident, Wesh.com reported.
The 31-year-old from South Carolina is now undergoing a mental evaluation at an unidentified Florida hospital.
Officials said the children would be turned over to a relative in Orlando once released from hospital where they are being treated for minor injuries.
Police will now decide whether the mother should face criminal charges. The car was later towed from the ocean.