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. shysharing prayers

    My prayers goes out 2 evry1 that was affected by this horrible storm. Remember...,better days r comin! God loves you all!<3

    May 1, 2011 at 4:41 am | Report abuse |
  2. andi

    My heart goes out to all the families of the tornados' path. And, while I realize we all "have one"...it's a revelation "it" can talk. (yes, a**wipe, I am talking to you, and I do think you should be charged with an "hate" crime) Too bad stupidity isn't punishable by law, oh wait! It's a life sentence for you, already!

    May 1, 2011 at 4:48 am | Report abuse |
  3. tiabear

    Spread the love not the hate. May the Good Lord have mercy on everybody who suffers loss of everything. And I pray for the wicked that their hearts will change for those who lost their family friends and homes. Please remember the pets. Love tiabear.

    May 1, 2011 at 5:33 am | Report abuse |
  4. carma

    Thank God the father kept his head and knew what to do. there is nothing wrong with living in a trailer. check out for yourself. my family lives in a trailer and it has nothing to do with being poor. at least it's a roof over your head. Try living in the streets. yes i am carma with a c.

    May 1, 2011 at 5:45 am | Report abuse |
  5. joann

    Thank God,they did what they did.That was a smart move,on thier part by taking refuge in a ditch.I,pray the father's back gets better.

    May 1, 2011 at 6:03 am | Report abuse |
  6. Chandra

    So many were affected by these massive tornados. I know that'll it will take time to pick up the broken pieces, but know that something positive has to come from this situation. And one final thought...please let's do what we can financially, emotionally, spiritually, and physically to help those affected return to somewhat 'normal' lives. Much peace and love to everyone.

    May 1, 2011 at 6:55 am | Report abuse |
  7. tazz

    i pray for all that went threw this terribel sttorm and pray our country can give them they help they need as we have done for so many other countries. unfortunetly our own r in great need of assistence i just pray we can give it to them in a time when they need it more then anyone eles anywhere eles its time to take care of our own

    May 1, 2011 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
  8. steve

    Sittin in a trailer watching tv... You're kucky to be alive. Next time try the weather channel or local weather. I think ur an idiot for not being prepared.

    May 1, 2011 at 7:13 am | Report abuse |
    • chris

      @Steve,

      My heart and prayers go out to this father and son, as well as all others who were victims of these terrible storms. May God bless them all.

      We live in Charlotte, NC and were still prepared for the worst.

      Steve, just as importantly, I hope your soul finds peace, as well. Also, instead of simply criticising these poor folks, do something useful and donate to a relief fund.

      Chris Anderson

      May 1, 2011 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
  9. John Doe

    Pay no mind to the trolls. They are just saying anonymously what they wish they had the courage to say publicly. At least be thankful for the fact that their ignorance is limited to these pages on the web which will soon be forgotten and have no lasting impact whatsoever.

    May 1, 2011 at 7:15 am | Report abuse |
  10. catfish

    I am a truck driver. I was in Louisiana during the storms surrounded by tornadoes. Gods grace kept my truck on the ground. My thoughts and prayers go out to those who were impacted by this outbreak.

    May 1, 2011 at 7:29 am | Report abuse |
  11. Lisa

    If the family happens to read these comments, please keep in mind that there always seems to be that one person that wants attention so badly that they will post obnoxious and hurtful comments (again and again) in order to make themselves feel more powerful. Know that most of us are glad you're family is safe and we are sorry for you loss of you family members. The majority of us do not lack empathy and civility. Do not let one jerk ruin all of the positive comments people have made.

    May 1, 2011 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
  12. skeptic

    My storm shelter – the culvert in front of my drive way. Thank heaven the tornado doesn't bring too much rain or it might just wash me out.

    May 1, 2011 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
  13. IxNay

    Years ago, my mom told me a story that really parallels this one. She was walking home from school with her older sister and a huge storm descended upon them. The only place they could see to hide was a ditch. The lay down in the ditch and held hands and my mom said, the winds just blew over them. Some people died in this storm.

    My heart goes out to this man, his son and all of the victims. That boy with the tears running down his face is heart wrenching. I am in Ottawa and I will be finding a way to help the communities impacted, as I have done for other natural disasters.

    May 1, 2011 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
  14. emo girl

    hey best luck to all of u out there um every body whos even close to a storm like that should come to michigan right now because these storms are deadly and michigan does not get like any tornados. to all of the good hearts out there good luck and emo girl loves u. 🙂

    May 1, 2011 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
  15. Rose

    Thank God they're ok. I hope the dad recover quickly and so does everyone who has lost a love one because of these horrible storms.

    At everyone who is thinking of adding a comment of the top of your head...please think before type or text. Ignorance is bliss for some. Poverty is real and not everyone starts life poor but can end life poor. To those who do not believe in Karma, there is always the saying "What comes around goes around".

    May 1, 2011 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
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