This is the dramatic moment a father and his two young children were rescued from their overturned truck as rapidly rising floodwaters surrounded the vehicle.
Phillip Ocheltree, 25, of Wills Point, Texas, was driving home with his two kids in the backseat after tornadoes ripped through the state on Saturday, when he says his truck ‘hydroplaned off the highway.’
The vehicle flipped, trapping Ocheltree and his infant son Marshal, and little girl Addyson, aka Addy, inside, as rising flood water surrounded the car making it impossible to open the doors.
Thankfully, passersby spotted the upturned truck near Myrtle Spring and rushed to the family’s aid.
Tom Mitchell, who says he was too weak to help himself, began filming as a group of men waded through the rushing water and surrounded the truck.
The men struggled to force the doors open against the current for several minutes until one man, wearing a red t-shirt and a cap, is able to get inside and grab baby Marshal from the backseat of the truck that was rapidly filling with water.
‘I need some f**king help!’ he screamed as he waded to shore with the infant in his arms.
Sadly when he got to land, the rescuers could see the little boy was not breathing.
‘No color at all and the eyes were not focused when I looked down,’ Mitchell told WFAA-TV.
At that point, he put his phone which was still recording in his pocket, and started CPR.
‘This baby is gonna die if we don’t start CPR fast,’ Mitchell said. ‘Having a negative feeling coming over me,’ he added. ‘This baby may not make it, this baby may not make it. No reaction, nothing is happening.’
A woman off camera is heard praying: ‘Dear Jesus, please let this baby breathe.’
As rescuers worked to revive the baby, others were able to free Addy, who was also unresponsive, and their father, and bring them to safety.
The group also tried to revive Addy who was rushed to hospital after the rescue where she remains in a serious but stable condition.
‘Life comes at you in a blink of an eye,’ said Ocheltree. ‘Last night leaving our home trying to get away from what was yet to come we hydroplaned off the highway.
‘The update as of this moment is Marshal is in excellent condition and is full of life. Addy bug right now is fighter for lack of better words.
‘She is stable and breathing more and more on her own but it’s all up to her as to when she is ready to wake up see everyone please, please keep my little bug your prayers. I can’t thank you all enough who came into the water and saved my children your a blessing thank you all so much.’
On Sunday night he added an update saying Addy was ‘doing much better’ and that doctors planned to remove her breathing tube on Monday to see if she can breathe on her own.
‘All scans and tests say it looks promising, we seriously cannot thank all of the friends, people family everyone that has been with us thank you all for your support and prayers the man upstairs is hearing them loud and clear,’ added Ocheltree, a motorman at Trinidad Drilling in Wills Point, Texas.
Thousands have responded on social media to pass on their prayers and support for the family.
A YouCaring page has also been started to help Phillip and his wife, high school sweetheart Emily, pay for their daughter’s medical bills.
While Phillip’s sister Nicole Ocheltree added that she was ‘extremely grateful, and thankful for the kind Samaritans that ultimately saved my niece and nephews life.’
‘I think it shows how the community and strangers all come together,’ Mitchell added.
At least 15 were left dead and dozens more were injured after severe storms buffeted Missouri, Arkansas and Texas on Saturday.
Tornadoes ripped through East Texas, killing four people and injuring more than 50.
Search teams were going door-to-door in the state on Sunday – a day after storms cut a path of destruction 35 miles long and 15 miles wide in Van Zandt County. The largely rural area is about 50 miles east of Dallas.
The National Weather Service found evidence of four tornadoes with one twister possibly on the ground for 50 miles (80 kilometers).
‘It is heartbreaking and upsetting to say the least,’ Canton Mayor Lou Ann Everett said.
In East Texas, a couple were minutes away from getting married when a tornado ravaged their wedding venue. Jessica Carter and Kyle Carpenter were at Carter’s sister and brother-in-law’s house when the tornado struck, destroying the home.
The tornado smashed cars and sent family members scrambling to save the lives of one another.
Video from local television stations showed uprooted trees and overturned cars along rural, wet roadways, along with flattened homes.
Everett said authorities had confirmed four deaths in the area, down from the five deaths reported earlier, but cautioned that ‘it is a very fluid situation and that could change.’
Searchers were using dogs to determine whether anyone was trapped or needed help.
Fifty-six people were treated at three hospitals and six remained hospitalized Sunday morning, two of them in critical condition, ETMC Regional Health Care Systems spokeswoman Rebecca Berkley said.