As of Monday, the death toll had risen to 37 with 'hundreds of unaccounted for people' at a minimum, according to officials.
Early on Thursday morning, Nathan Day, a resident of Hindman, Knott County, got a message from a neighbor pleading with him to rescue her grandkids from the floods.
While talking to CNN, Day said that he was unaware of the heavy flooding in the area until his neighbor told him. "I didn't know what they was talking about, then I went outside," Day said. "You heard a lot of people screaming and begging for anyone to help."
Without a boat, Day and his wife Krystal waded through the floodwaters to rescue the five children and two moms who were trapped on their home's roof.
After receiving a message asking for help, a Kentucky man and his wife waded through the water to help save five children and two mothers who were stuck on the roof of their flooded home. Then the man set his sights on rescuing two of his former teachers. https://t.co/sjcHWnO5ST— CNN (@CNN) August 2, 2022
"At 3 o'clock in the morning, I was in that water with my wife. I put a child under each arm and one around my neck and took them back to my house. The oldest child was holding a small dog," Day explained the situation to CNN.
Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday afternoon that in one of the worst flooding in history in Eastern Kentucky, the death toll had risen to 37 and many remain missing, per CNN. The death toll could still rise further, according to officials, with "hundreds of unaccounted for people" at a minimum, the governor said at a news conference earlier
"At 3 o'clock in the morning, I was in that water with my wife. I put a child under each arm and one around my neck and took them back to my house. The oldest child was holding a small dog," Day said. https://t.co/VjZL1G8kM6— KION News Channel 46 (@KION546) August 2, 2022
After rescuing the children and the two women, Day remembered two of his former high school teachers, Ella Prater and Irma Gayheart, who lived nearby and he could not return without rescuing them. Describing the situation as 'heartbreaking', he said that he "knew my two former schools might have been trapped in their homes" and seeing the water levels rise, he "kept going back and forth."
He then asked three other neighbors to him check on his teachers, who both lived alone, according to Day. He said they held Prater "by both of her arms and never turned around. We stated that we had to go." Gayheart took a while to answer the door, but once she did, she informed him that she was OK and had been on her kitchen countertop watching the water rise.
"I wasn't going to leave her there because she's a special lady to me. You could tell by looking at her face that she was drained," Day said. "She spent the night on the kitchen counter top and the water was up by the countertop."
When asked why he wanted to risk his life for these two women, Day responded, "These are two of the most special women you'll meet in your life, and when they show you love, they show you true love. They truly care about everyone that's around them and that stuck with me my whole life."
With the aid of his neighbors, Day was able to reconnect both teachers with their relatives, who had been anxiously awaiting any information regarding their situation. Day told CNN that although the experience has been emotionally taxing, he is relieved that the kids and former teachers are safe.
Cover Image Source: YouTube | CNN