A group of good Samaritans rescued a toddler, an infant, and their parents from their truck after it flipped over on a flooded highway and was submerged in rushing water in Canton, Texas.
Tornadoes and severe weather hit the area Saturday night.
Phillip and Emily Ocheltree were trying to find a storm shelter when the weather conditions became worse.
It started hailing, “and it was already too late at that point,” Emily told NBC. And then “the truck went sideways and spun and then flipped three times,” she said.
“When we rolled, it broke one window of the door, the passenger rear door,” Phillip said. “And that’s how all the water was coming in to the cab of the truck.”
“It was just black. We couldn’t see anything, and I was just trying to find my babies,” Phillip told WFAA.
Phillip and Emily frantically tried to free their 4-month-old son Marshal and their 18-month-old daughter Addy.
Meanwhile, a group of strangers had gathered. They struggled against the current to rescue the family.
The horrifying ordeal was caught on camera by local resident Tom Mitchell in Myrtle Springs, Texas.
Mitchell told NBC News what he witnessed was strangers helping strangers in need.
The Ocheltrees’ truck was overturned in a ditch filled with at least 4 feet of fast-moving water.
“They had no fear,” Mitchell said of the rescuers. “I mean, it was no hesitation.”
Mitchell said he performed CPR on one of the children, and he thought the boy was a goner.
“I thought he wasn’t coming back,” he said. “His body was gray blue.”
Jaime Martinez, a former firefighter in Guatemala, also provided CPR. Even though he now works as a musician, he said he never forgot his CPR training.
“It just kicks in,” Martinez told WFAA.
Both children were taken to Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, the only pediatric level 1 trauma center in North Texas. On Monday, 4-month-old Marshal was released. Addy is still being treated, but is in stable condition.
Emily told WFAA, “I just want to hug those people who helped us.”
She got the chance to do just that:
Martinez surprised the family with a visit, and the Ocheltrees embraced him, thanking him between tears for helping their children.
“I’m just happy they’re okay,” Martinez said.
That meeting was also caught on camera (get your tissues ready!).
Virginia Howard told NBC she was the first on the scene. She was not able to approach the car, but she did what she could to help the family:
“As I was coming down the highway … all the cars were stopping trying to find shelter, getting away from the hail and stuff,” she said. “And I kept hearing the Lord tell me to go, don’t stop, keep going, don’t stop. And my sister said, ‘Pull over, y’all.’ I said no, the Lord told me to keep going.”
Howard added that she believes God meant for her to be there:
“I think it was that and the fact that there was so many people willing to get out there. Everybody seemed to be working as a team.”
Mitchell told WFAA that the rescue of the family trapped in the video testified to the strength of his community.
“I think it shows how the community and strangers all come together,” he said.
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Lily Dane is a staff writer for The Daily Sheeple. Her goal is to help people to “Wake the Flock Up!”