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. MrsM

    Rich man or Poor man....regardless of which loses all he has due to disaster, all should apply empathy towards them! I am happy that they have their lives. But, saddened at all they have lost. I wish them the best!
    By the way, I live in a 'trailer' & bring home more than 100k a year. It is just the country home that I wanted and a lot cheaper than building a traditional home with the same sq footage.I would be happy with anything I had for a home and feel for those that have no home at all. Let's be nice to one another today.

    May 1, 2011 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  2. marlena

    I can't believe some of these a$$es leaving comments. This is a horrible tragedy that could happen to anyone, anywhere. Nobody is safe from a natural disaster. Who cares about somebody's financial status, or what they live in. These two men faced death and lived. God Bless the souls who perished and those who lost everything.

    May 1, 2011 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  3. stonedwhitetrash

    News flash Prince whatchaname's new wife just broke wind and it smelled very sweet. Now that's a news story.

    May 1, 2011 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  4. nani

    god isnt real,but im happy to hear of survivors instead of more and more death.

    May 1, 2011 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • reply to nani

      nani isn't real, this was a computer virus, please ignor.

      May 1, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  5. popeye

    The real popeye ! It's good to here a heart touched story amid such tragic events ! My prayers go out to the families that lost so much and gods speed to the recoveries.

    May 1, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  6. tony

    Will you all please stop saying the word karma?there is no such thing.there is reaping what you sow.karma is new age mumbo jumbo dumbo columbo.

    May 1, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  7. popeye

    We can do are part and stop these trolls if we all report abuse every time we see it and then maybe it will finally get some attention from CNN's over see'rs !

    May 1, 2011 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  8. joyce

    joey I hope you find the Lord before he takes you out of this world.He's got your number. If you don't make a big change in your life you will find out what utter devastation is when you are sitting in the pits of hell. I pray you find your way before this happens. You need to learn to be compassionate. You do not know all the answers!!!!!!!

    May 1, 2011 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
    • myke

      Hey joyce, check this out: "judge not lest ye be judged". forget that part of the bible hun? I love how all the "christians" in these blogs love to tell people that they're going to hell. who do you think all you are. you have some fricken nerve. lessons from the bible (the new testament anyway). DO NOT STEAL! (this includes: someone's life [killing], someones honor [god's, your mother & father's and your neighbors]) HELP THOSE WHO NEED IT, AND DON'T JUDGE OTHERS. why can't you christians figure that out. I haven't been to church in well over 20 years and I know this. if somebodys a jerk or doesn't belive what you belive how can you tell them they're going to hell then sit in church on sunday like you're some christian warrior? maybe you've never heard what the REAL meaning of christanity is because you're so worried about who's going to hell and who's not.

      May 1, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Fiona

    I wish i knew why were demeaning each other with comments like these wwhen we should be talking aabout helping out the people in tennessee not work ethics the royal wedding or how your ashamed to be a american.:-(. can we get back to trying to figure out ways to help people and not destroy

    May 1, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  10. Name*PHILIP

    Wow. Let me see if I have this right. "god" is omniscient, which means he knows everything before it happens. He sits back and does nothing knowing the sheer horror that will come,especially the children. He is also omnipotent, he has supreme power to do or stop anything from happening. Yet again, he does nothing. Those poor brainwashed people then thank "Him" as they crawl from the rubble!? Sickens me. I hope those citizens somehow get on with their life.

    May 1, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  11. popeye

    @jazzzzzzz bansay ruffnutt Cesar hope we got rid of the troll I reported him every time he made a post hope you all might do the same thanks the real popeye with a woman and kids !

    May 1, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Jazzzzzzzz

      Ooo, The Popeye I know is building a house and just got off a 6 month ship run. Sorry I was the one who suggested the name Popeye cause of his job. Thanks for letting me know.

      May 1, 2011 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  12. Chelsea

    Good thinking Dad! Hats off to you.

    May the living find their peace in time, and may the dead rest in peace. My heart goes out to everyone, from one tornado survivor to all of you.

    May 1, 2011 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  13. popeye

    Name*PHILIP you should consider changing your name for it's a Christian one! There may or may not be a god so believe what you must we will all find out in the end either way.

    May 1, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  14. Soleada

    My parents are truck drivers – they were in oklahoma when the storms hit. Thankfully they're ok, but some friends of theirs got hit in their truck by a tornado – i believe their truck is in bad shape & the couple had to go to the hospital. .. I also live 30 Min north of Murfreesboro TN and barely missed the tornado of 2009 (had been @ work in m'boro & had just gotten off).. I remember how green the sky was that day & worried all evening about my fiancee & co-workers. Thankfully everyone was ok though.

    May 1, 2011 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  15. WV GAL

    My prayers go to all those affected by the tornadoes......so much destruction.....but most important the lifes that were lost! living in a trailer DOES NOT mean that you are poor.. Have u seen inside a mobile(trailer) home? They r beautiful!! and no I don't live in one,but I sure wouldn't mind living in one................ok, now for the thing that REALLY upsets me.......has anyone out there noticed that when the USA has a horrible situation.......tornadoes, hurricanes,earthquakes, fires, etc.....no other country comes running to help!! But the good ole USA sends $billoins$, food water,etc.....ok I'm all for helping..its not that I don't feel sorry for all those all the world.....I just think we should take care of our own most of all!! There are still places that were affected by Katrina that hasn't been touched......where is all the help for our people? My husband was there with the National Guards from WV,,,What a mess!! Well...I've had my say....May God bless and keep each of you!!!

    May 1, 2011 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
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