Four Young Siblings Drown After Floodwaters Swept Them from Their Parents’ Arms in Kentucky

GoFundMe; Getty

Four young siblings were swept away by vicious floodwaters in Kentucky on Thursday as their parents struggled in vain to hold onto them, according to a family member.

As the rising tide filled their Knott County home, Riley Noble and Amber Smith escaped to the roof with their children, 18-month-old Chance; Nevaeh, 4; Riley Jr., 6; and Maddison, 8. But when the structure washed out from underneath them, the six of them “managed to get to a tree,” cousin Brittany Trejo said.

There, Noble and Smith “held the children a few hours before a big tide came and wash[ed] them all away at the same time,” Trejo told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “The mother and father was stranded in the tree for 8 hours before anyone got there to help.”

Rescuers found Riley Jr. and Nevaeh’s bodies yesterday, according to Trejo. Maddison and Chance’s remains were discovered early Friday, she said. A GoFundMe campaign has so far raised a little under $5,000 for funeral expenses.

The Nobles are just one among countless families grappling with their new reality after Kentucky’s catastrophic flooding over the last few days. Deemed “one of the worst, most devastating flooding events” in Kentucky history, Gov. Andy Beshear on Friday confirmed that 16 people have died and dozens more are waiting to be rescued.

“It’s going to get a lot higher,” Beshear said at a Friday news briefing about the death toll, before confirming that the four children were among the six minors who have died in the flooding. “We may have even lost entire families.”

In the wee hours of Thursday, Amber Nickles watched her home disappear.

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SOURCE: The Daily Beast, Justin Rohrlich and Pilar Melendez