Father, son survived tornado: 'I had to save him,' dad says
Brian Poe and son, Tanner, 15, took cover in a ditch Wednesday as a tornado swept through Apison, Tennessee.
April 30th, 2011
08:47 PM ET

Father, son survived tornado: 'I had to save him,' dad says

Thanks to quick thinking, a father and son in Apison, Tennessee, survived a tornado that slammed the small town during the violent storms that ravaged the Southeast on Wednesday.

As the violent storm system barreled toward Brian Poe and other residents in a span of mobile homes,  just after 8 o'clock, there was precious little time to act, he told CNN's Susan Candiotti.

“I was laying on the couch watching TV, about to sleep and my neighbor called me and told me: ‘It’s coming. Get out of the trailer. It’s coming.”

Poe said he stepped outside his mobile home, summoning his son, 15-year-old Tanner, just as the storm was bearing down on them.

The National Weather Service has confirmed an EF-4 tornado with winds of 174 mph tore through Catoosa County in northwestern Georgia and into southeastern Tennessee. The same tornado that hit Apison had also struck Ringgold, Georgia, about 15 miles to the south, leaving seven dead.

“I kind of walked out and I heard it coming,” Poe said. With raging winds around them, Brian and Tanner Poe darted to a roadside ditch.

“The only thing I could think of was my son … I had to save him,” Poe said.

The only thing the two could do was hold on for dear life, Tanner said.

“Me and Dad were hugging each other laying face down,” Tanner said. “[The storm] was lifting us off the ground." A tree fell on the pair, injuring Brian Poe's back "and the wind pulled it off of us,” Tanner said.

Wednesday was the deadliest day for tornadoes since a 1925 tornado outbreak that killed more than 700 people in seven states, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Saturday on its website.

Poe said he lost several family members in the storm, which has left thousands of people homeless and killed more than 300 people.

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Filed under: Alabama • Tennessee • Tornadoes • U.S. • Weather
soundoff (170 Responses)
  1. Joey

    @ Trolls Eva and Emily:
    I have expressed deep grief for the loss of human life if my native South exhaustively in these threads over a period of days.
    YOU LIE!
    Just after the earthquake in Haiti, I gave a concert that raised tens of thousands of dollars for that cause.
    Love has hands.

    May 2, 2011 at 6:45 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Joey

    Yo! I am Joey and I think I'm cool. Nobody can really call me a fool! Just cuz I like to party with boyz...I bust out all da cool toyz! I got da c@ck rings and all da whips. Around my dong you'll place yo lips! When I'm done rockin yo little hole, I'll slap u with my mini-pole! Time to run I gotta go, my buddies all know I'm a ho!

    May 2, 2011 at 10:15 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Emily

    @Joey
    How am I a troll for not wanting to see people arguing with each other here? This is a story about hope, family, and survival, and that's the reason I'm here. These little arguments are, for current lack of lighter term, an eyesore. All I'm saying–not asking, not commanding, just SAYING–is that it would be nice if you and Eva discussed it elsewhere, for the sake of the people reading the article. Is that asking too much?

    May 2, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. shawnta

    my apologies to the normal self respecting ppl who are genuinely concerned for these survivors tht have been subjected to the immaturity and vulgarity of some of the others. i can assure you today's generation is not entirely this degenerate. i am a parent my self and i am so proud of this father for putting his son's life before his own. too many ppl today lack the common decency to be a self sacrificing human being. too the rest of you degenerates grow up and please try to control the endless spew of filth from your tiny malfuncting brains!

    May 2, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. countryboy

    He's Safe! http://WWW.CDBABY.COM/ALL/NUMONE bye now!

    May 3, 2011 at 7:54 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. ARdnas

    Unless you know what your talking about...some should just vent elsewhere. This is a tradgedy for everyone. Poor, wealthy...unemployed...whatever. I live outside of Ringgold, GA..retired but not by choice....We live on a ridgetop in a home...and watched the tornado as it left Ringgold and headed down Cherokee Valley where a family of four were killed and two more. As it headed to Apison I called our daughter to warn her,,,,she lives a half mile from where it hit and four were killed that close to her. We have travled over all these roads of destruction... it is like an atom bomb hit. It destroyed large estates and little homes, mobile homes...anything in it's path. So if you had a bank full of money or an empty piggy bank you were hit...and had a life changing loss. God didn't do this....this is from the devil. HE wants to destroy..not the one who created us and loves us. I am blessed by the miracle after miracle stories of survival. From the tops of ridges to valley's below homes are gone...and yet so many DID survive. An they have a smile on their face...grateful that they were spared. I have been blessed by their personal stories...how can I complain about anything. We need to always remember ... it could have been us!

    May 3, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. samantha barbee

    hey tanner im so sorry 4 that incident of your old house being gone and i love you:)

    September 17, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. runner305

    It's clear that you have LOTS of growing up to do! Meanwhile, isn't it past your bedtime??

    May 1, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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