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. melody

    this is truly heartbreaking.

    May 1, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Lucy

    @YesIt'sSacrcasm: love it! And you're exactly right!

    May 1, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Lucy

    Nice little Pacino reference, HOO HA!

    May 1, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. abc

    @god bless. Dick.

    May 1, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ...aqui-estoy...

    This is why humanity is comming to an end!!! Because even in the worse times we always seem to attack each other... May god bless our soulsand forgive us for our sins!!! My condolences to all the families

    May 1, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lucy

    Uh, it was all sarcasm. Hence the name, myke.

    May 1, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. bettylion

    I feel terrible for all those affected by this violent weather, it's a very scary thing. I live in Mass and I'm still terrified of tornados, they do happen occasionally here too. But what I don't understand is why there are not better preparations for people who live in a tornado-prone area. Mobile homes are obviously not safe shelter, and obviously don't have basements.... why don't the mobile home parks have one underground shelter where all the residents can go in case of emergency? Would that really be so hard or expensive? A lot of people can cram into a small space for a few minutes, it wouldn't have to be huge, or fancy. Are they just hoping that "it'll never hit here?" It's crazy that a DITCH was the best option for these people. A community shelter should be a basic safety law for a mobile home park in tornado-prone states.

    May 1, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Lucy

    @bettylion: that's actually a really good idea, except in the south the water table is so high, it would be flooded a lot. That's why no basements.

    May 1, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Richard

    Yesitssarcasm....well I think you have a major grudge against white people in general. Dont get all mad just because their is enough people of your ethnicity already on the system. It amazes me what a nut like you can fabricate from a article and somehow delve into their personal life as if you are psychic.

    May 1, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. lucifer

    I am a knob gobbler! My job is to tempt the gays with my ho-mo lifestyle and always am lookin for new gayboyz to corrupt! I wanna pump them in da rump with my little stump! I love to get butt slammed in da pooper!! Yes, it is true! Lucifer is a butt pirate fudge packin flamer!!

    May 1, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • runner305

      You are not ANY of the things you say you are...instead, you are a foolish troll, who is sneaking on your momma's computer, and it's way past your bedtime

      May 1, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. joyce

    I love da lord but I am a chubby lezbo that just loves to munch carpet! Does that mean I will be judged and go to a fiery place? Should I be worried about pumpin chicks in da poop chute with my massive strap on disco stick? I dunno! I judge and be judged!!

    May 1, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • runner305

      You are as stupid as that "lucifer" poster. You're probably the same poster who just changed his/her screen name.

      May 1, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. banasy

    @Richard: I think you missed the whole point of yes' post...it WAS sarcasm...athough the hillbilly part was a bit gratuitous. I don't thing ethnicity had anything to do with it. My take, anyway.

    May 1, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Concerned

    It's not worth reading comments on any CNN story – too much trash and craziness. Sad...

    May 1, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. banasy


    May 1, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. WV Gal

    To Yesits........you need help....how much weed do U smoke? You sound like someone who uses drugs..Why...why are your comments filled with hate and stupidity?????You would feel different if you faced disaster!! And you are not untouchable......we all must face death, hopefully a peaceable one,but we never know....We just need to be ready in our hearts and souls...May God have mercy on you...............then again????????????????

    May 1, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
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