Heartbreaking search for missing adults, children continues with at least 22 dead in Tennessee flooding

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Tennessee flooding: A relentless search continues Monday in Middle Tennessee, with adults and children trapped in the devastating floodwaters that killed at least 22 people as torrential rains lashed the area over the weekend.

Heartbreaking search for missing adults, children continues with at least 22 dead in Tennessee flooding
Heartbreaking search for missing adults, children continues with at least 22 dead in Tennessee flooding

Historic flooding on Saturday washed away roads, demolished house foundations, removed cell phone towers and telephone lines, and destroyed cars. In the wake of the wreckage, family and friends are furious over the whereabouts of their missing loved ones.

In Waverley, Humphries County, which has a population of 4,500, authorities released a list of missing people with 37 names as of Monday morning, with staff “searching inch by inch, outside the wreckage.”

Among the dead were twins washed out of their father’s arms, according to family members, and a foreman at the county music star Loretta Lynn’s ranch. Many of those missing are living in nearby neighborhoods where water has risen rapidly, Humphries County Sheriff Chris Davis said.

“The water was flowing in. We tried to close the door and it didn’t work. It was filling up and I said don’t be afraid. It’s going to be okay. I’m going to get help,” the mother told Fox 17 Nashville of the deceased.

Less than two children were missing in Waverley as Humphries County received up to 17 inches of rain in less than 24 hours on Saturday.

Kellen Cole Borough, 2, was washed from his mother’s arms as floodwaters flowed through his apartment.

“I could not get him back, but [his mother] was able to save our four children,” Kellen’s father told Club McCord News. “If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t have kids right now.”

One name on the missing person list is 15-year-old Lily Bryant, whose friends say she started her freshman high school year.

“If we can’t find her tonight, we’ll be here in the morning as soon as the day’s break continues,” a family friend told Chelsea Simons Station. “Don’t stop until we find their baby.”

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee toured the area, calling it a “devastating picture of damage and heartache.” In a letter to President Biden, he urged the federal government to expedite a major disaster declaration.

“There are no words in the ranch today … only tears,” Loretta Lynn wrote in a Facebook post. “Our ranch family is our family. We lost my wonderful Ranch Foreman Wayne in this devastating flood.”

The Humphrey County Sheriff’s Office has set up a reunification center at McEwen High School. Authorities believe the death toll is likely to rise as the search continues until Monday.

“Depending on the number of deaths, I’m going to see more recovery efforts this time around than rescue efforts,” said Patrick Sheehan, Tennessee Emergency Management Director.

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