by: Allison Latos Updated:
RUTHERFORDTON, N.C. - Tim Teseneer was on vacation driving on Daytona Beach with his wife and two children Tuesday when they saw a minivan in the water and the waves pounding on the doors.
At first, he thought the driver was joking, but then he heard a frightening sound.
"I heard them yelling for help,” Teseneer said.
Teseneer is a volunteer firefighter in Rutherfordton and he said his natural instincts kicked in. He took off running.
He was the first person to get to the minivan and he said he tried to convince the woman to turn around.
WEB EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: NC firefighter helps rescue woman, children from ocean
"She had her hands on the wheel and she looked back and said, ‘We're going to be fine,'" Teseneer said.
The name of that woman was not released, but we know she is pregnant and had her three children... ages 3, 9 and 10 with her.
Teseneer said the children's screams shook him to his core.
“The boy said our mom is trying to kill us,” Teseneer said.
IMAGES: Woman drives van into ocean at Daytona Beach
Teseneer's wife captured every second of the rescue on her cellphone as she and their two kids watched from their car.
“He yelled there's a baby in the van,” Teseneer said.
Teseneer and several others rescued the woman and her three children.
Teseneer's 13-year-old daughter, Michael, opened her suitcase.
“I gave them my clothes,” she said.
She was worried about the children who were wet and scared. She worries about the trauma they'll endure for years to come.