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. ree

    I feel very sad for all of the people who lost their lives in this tragedy! My heart and prayers go out to all who were affected. God bless you.

    May 1, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ree

    What a shame there are so many sick haters commenting.. No one wants to hear your bull**** rants on how your tax dollars are being spent on these people and how they are poor. You probably have some crap job and make no money yourself.. Maybe that is why you are so angry. Or your a spoiled rich kid who never grew up! I'm sure these innocent people had jobs, and did the best they could do! Who are YOU to point fingers? Have you noticed the economy lately, or are you that stupid? And how about the children and infants that were killed, you ass****! Are they losers too?? You are a f***ing joke and i wish you saw the middle of an F5!! I'm sure you would think differently then.. Get off this site and be haters somewhere else, obviously you have nothing better to do...LOOOSSSSERS!!!

    May 1, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rhonda

    I found this story to be so touching. It made me cry. .

    May 1, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. clarke

    It is hard for me to believe the terrible comments on here. These people are human, unlike yourselves, you are mean spirited and so disgraceful. This was a terrible storm that hit, how is it possible for some of you to be the way you are. It's no wonder our country is in such trouble, you sure don't help. To all the people who lost so much in the south, may God Speed.

    May 1, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joey

    "Wow" is the troll.
    "holy spirit" is the troll.
    "Joyce is the troll."
    My comment pointing out the absurdity ot "Hell" was censored, but CNN publishes troll comments that condemn me to the retribution of "Karma."

    May 1, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joey

    Joyce in quotes, not the entire sentence.
    "Joyce" is the troll.

    May 1, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joey

    I, Joey, am hated by the troll because I live a happy, successful life and the troll is miserable in its life, forced to impersonate others and to condemn me to hell for my honesty.

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

    "Eva" might or might not be the troll.
    However, it doesn't matter, because the comments of "Eva," and others who are as stupid as she and "God Bless" are, stand unconnected to any powerful force in the real world except dishonest jive.

    May 1, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joey

    @ reply to Sean:
    I agree with you that I will die.
    However, I do not believe in predestination.
    Are you a Presbyterian?
    I just adore Calvinism. So fun!

    May 1, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joey

    @ Kim:
    I pity you if you "know" that Karma exists, and if you actually believe in an avenging angel.

    May 1, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joey

    @ Troll:
    Thank you for the last two tributes (11:03 PM and 11:23 PM ET).
    I regret that you made two errors in your posts.
    I am, nevertheless, gratified.

    May 1, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Eva

    "Dishonest jive"?! I LOST MY BEST FRIEND IN THE 2009 EF5! COME HERE AND SAY THAT TO MY FACE, YOU LITTLE BRAT! LET'S SEE JUST HOW WELL YOU FARE! You have made one too many comments, DAMNABLE TROLL! I am sorry, but calling me a LIAR? A full year in the hospital, and another of physical therapy, BOTH spent traumatized mentally and emotionally! The one person I knew my whole life, taken just like that, and you have the NERVE to call it LIES? You're lucky we're online, or Joey, I'd be STRANGLING you.

    May 2, 2011 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
  13. Emily

    Can you two take this elsewhere, PLEASE? Please.

    May 2, 2011 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
  14. Eva

    No! His blatant disregard for life will NOT be tolerated! People have lost lives, and the creature doesn't even care! It's revolting and inhumane!

    May 2, 2011 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
  15. Joey

    @ Trolls Eva and Emily:
    The Law here:
    One can call me anything.
    One cannot physically attack me.
    If you attack me physically, I will press charges.

    May 2, 2011 at 6:28 am | Report abuse |
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