Tennessee Couple Describes 'Flying In The Air' During Deadly Tornado

Wednesday, March 4th 2020, 5:15 am
By: CBS News

At least 24 people were killed and dozens remain missing in Tennessee after the U.S.'s deadliest tornado outbreak in nearly seven years. Victims include 4-year-old Hattie Collins, whose parents Matt and Macy survived, and Josh and Erin Kimberlin who died alongside their 2-year-old, Sawyer, when their house was decimated.

Officials say many Tennesseans were asleep in their beds when the system hit overnight between Monday and Tuesday. Cookeville in Putnam County, just east of Nashville, was among the most devastated areas with 18 of the two dozen fatalities.

One Cookeville resident, Seth Wells, told CBS News' David Begnaud about how he had been woken up at 1:50 a.m. with a tornado warning on his phone, and described hearing a "deep roar" before rushing to take cover with his partner, Danielle Theophile, in their bath tub.

"We were flying in the air, into the trees back there, where once we hit those trees, the house... it just exploded. The house just disintegrated," Wells said. 

Theophile said she could feel herself "lifting and flipping over" while their house flew through the air.

"I have no clue how we survived," Wells said. "Like 'Wizard of Oz'."

Theophile said she needed 15 stitches when her forehead was "split open" during the intense ordeal.

As they pick up the pieces and attempt to rebuild their life, Wells said the couple are "not gonna let go" of each other. "Not after this. Not ever. We're not letting go."