Simon Besner, a tourist from Canada, shot a video of the dramatic rescue. "It was a bit terrifying," Besner told WFTV.
After they were pulled out of the water, the woman and the three children -- ages 10, 9 and 3 -- were taken to a local hospital as a precaution. According to a number of reports, the woman was pregnant.
Tim Tesseneer told WESH that he was the second rescuer to reach the van. "The two in the back seat was crying, with their arms out saying 'Our mommy's trying to kill us, please help,'" Tesseneer said.
The Department of Children and Families will be looking into the 31-year-old mother's terrifying trip into the ocean.
"The kids are like, 'No there's a baby. There's a baby,'" Tesseneer said. "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."