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. popeye

    Tornadoes are really a force to be reckoned with they don't just destroy they demolish everything in their path ! I've never been in one but I've been close to several in my life and have seen firsthand the devastation they do cause ! It would be. Unimaginable to lose all of you keepsakes let alone love ones.

    May 1, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  2. popeye

    Wv gal I agree 100%

    May 1, 2011 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  3. Journeys

    I fault CNN for not monitoring this site and allowing this garbage of mean nasty comments.

    May 1, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  4. shamari perry

    god is good all the time .so the good thing about it is he is in control .like the word say you dont no the day or hour when he apear.be ready.allso dont give up.he has his hands on you.just no.its not about things .about life this jennifer

    May 1, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  5. StepUp

    nice 2 hear the good parts of news sometimes. An injury is better than loss of life. It truly is amazing when a tree can be slammed around, on top of you then taken away like a 'twig' that I KNOW there's angels watching over us.

    May 1, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  6. Johnny hurst

    Its a shame the good folks of the south have to go through such tragedy. Its also a shame what some people will say in the face of such tragedy, especially wile they are hiding behind a computer screen. If you were in my presence saying those things. I would pull your diaper down in front of everyone and tan your hindend real good you punks.

    May 1, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Eva

    I was visiting my grandmother's house, between Murfreesboro and Woodbury. Driving out of the city when the sirens went off, then (living in the Pacific Northwest and not knowing how to deal with tornadoes) I had decided to try to reach the house. These two really knew what to do... Even if I haven't actually /lived/ there, it really makes me proud to be from TN. I'm glad you and your family got out too.

    May 1, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. EJ

    The dad did a good job of thinking under stress. Lying flat in a ditch is a n old school tornado survival tactic that most folks don't know about, and it worked for them...

    May 1, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. popeye

    Out of respect for those affected by these storms I will refrain from going to the gay bars for a period of 24 hours....good thing I have a bar at home and it's flaming gay. Just like me.

    May 1, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Kim

    KARMA, KARMA, KARMA! I feel so sad for everyone affected by this horrific storm. I KNOW KARMA DOES EXSIST. As for all of you ignorant sheeples out there, watch out for the avenging angel. She says you will get what you have coming to you! Be ready! God bless all of the victims of this sorm. My heart goes out to all of you.

    May 1, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Danah

    to the people lacking respect & compassion for others especially through a horrific time like this, i will gladly invite you to my home when the next MONSTER STORM rip's wildly destroying everything in its path, however you wouldn't be welcome in our safe place! I'd leave "ppl like you" out in the midst of an EF5/EF6 so that GOD COULD SMITE YOU HIMSELF !!! GOD BLESS EVERYONE & THIER FAMILIES THAT WERE LESS FORTUNATE THAN SOME OF US!

    May 1, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Samuel Morrison

    My heart goes out to the families involved in this natural disaster. You really have to sit back and wonder what in the world is going on. From earthquakes, floods, very violent hurricanes and tornadoes, famine around the world, genocide, racism, hate. One must wonder is this the coming of the end of days or end of life on this planet as we know it.

    May 1, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. banasy

    Tornados do not recognize wealth. Tornados do not recognize good or evil people; tornados simply *are*. Same with hurricanes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, avalanches, mudslides and floods. *We* inhabit this planet; *we* must learn to cohabitate with Mother Earth's fickle weather. To suggest that tornados, or any other *natural* disaster is caused by anything other than nature is somewhat disingenuous.

    @Mary (Beautiful Jasmine): I would be honored, my friend. Anytime.

    May 1, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  14. faboge

    People are people and life's precious whether you believe these are inbred teabaggers or not! Keep the prejudice at bay!

    May 1, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. lucifer

    i had nothing to do with it. but i talked with mother earth and she said if u all quit poisoning the planet with your filth maybe she might spare u more horrors. but there is balance in the universe and right now there is just to many of you for the planet to sustain. remember my job is to tempt u. to influence your thoughts to do things that shame you. and right now im having a field day thanks to the internet and media. but im just getting started. thers more to come. much more.

    May 1, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
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