Group of strangers save family drowning in overturned car

The images in this Facebook video are simply terrifying. Thunder and lightning tear across the sky and on the ground a genuine apocalypse: a flooded river violently overturns a car with an entire family inside.

You hear the voices, the shouting. There are children inside. "They’re not breathing," others cry out. Their father, 25-year-old Philip Ocheltree from Texas, struggles to open the door and free his kids but he can’t fight the force of the water. It threatens to take him under too. 

He and his wife can see Marshal, 4 months, and Addyson, 2, inside almost covered by water now. It seems like everything is over. There’s no hope.

Suddenly a stranger shows up, manages to break into the car and release the baby from his carseat. He pulls the little guy to safety as a group starts to pull the car. Someone else succeeds in unstrapping Addyson and getting her out. She’s unconscious and doesn’t seem to be breathing. The baby’s eyes are unfocused — and he’s not breathing either. Was it too late?

They begin to lose hope, but then two people reach down and perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on the children, pressing them to expel water that might have gotten inside their lungs. And then — finally! — both of them breathe again! They’re saved! An ambulance arrives and takes them on a high-speed trip to the Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, where they’re still recovering. 

It sounds like a scene from a movie but it actually happened: together with his wife and children, Phillip was fleeing home to get out of the path of a tornado. But after a few miles the car skidded in floodwaters and he lost control. Fortunately strangers who saw the situation from afar came running to their aid. If it hadn’t been for their swift, brave reaction, the family could never have escaped.

"Life comes at you in the blink of an eye... the update as of this moment is Marshal is in excellent condition and is full of life...[Addy] is stable and breathing more and more on her own," wrote the father later on his Facebook page.

The video of the rescue went viral with over 29 million views so far. In the middle of the relief effort the image goes black and all you can hear are the voices. That’s because the man recording with his smartphone put the phone in his pocket so he could perform CPR on one of the children. 

Who are these anonymous heroes? They were the people who happened to be nearby. Regular people who stepped up to the challenge and came to help their neighbors in need. They’re an amazing reminder of how much courage and generosity exists in the people all around us, maybe in those where we least expect it — even if we don’t see it on a daily basis.

Check out the video below:

To help the family out with medical expenses, you can donate through this link. Here’s hoping little Marshal and Addyson recover fully and speedily — and that the extraordinary group of strangers who saved them have the great things coming to them that they deserve as well! 

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