VAN ZANDT COUNTY, Texas - A 2-year-old has been moved out of ICU at Children's Medical Center as she and her 4-month-old brother recover from a dramatic water rescue during Saturday’s deadly tornadoes in East Texas.
Video shows strangers jumping in high water to pull the children from a flipped SUV. Incredibly, 4-month-old Marshal was discharged on Monday, and 18-month-old Addyson is breathing on her own. She had no broken bones or serious injuries.
The Ocheltrees are confident the outcome would not have been so positive without the selfless and brave Good Samaritans who jumped in to help.
“That's kind of what hurts us the most. As parents, we can't really sit her down and explain what happened because she's not old enough to comprehend what happened,” said Addyson’s dad, Phillip. “She wants to know why she's in pain because she didn't inflict the pain on herself.”
Another video captured by Tom Mitchell shows the daring water rescue after a round of vicious storms spawned seven tornados in the Canton area and swept away the Ocheltree's SUV as they drove to a storm shelter.
“I heard banging,” Phillip recalled. “And I tried to break windows myself. But if you watch the video, the current was going so fast. It was like punching a brick wall.”
“They were trying to get us out. But I was like, ‘Make sure my kids have the breath of life before y'all take me out of this vehicle! I can fight for my life. They cannot,’” said Emily.
Several strangers worked feverishly to save Addyson and Marshal. Mitchell tucked the phone away but continued recording as he performed CPR.
Emily says they never expected to be at the center of so much attention, especially when many in their beloved town are just coming to terms with their own tremendous loss. But the Ocheltrees say they're grateful and that can't be overlooked.
“They don't like to be called a hero but they are,” Phillip said. “They are a hero, no matter how you look at it.”
Emily and Phillip still haven't been home since Saturday. They know their house is still standing but don't know how bad the damage might be. They hope to take Addyson home on Friday.