A former coal miner is being hailed as a hero after braving historic flood waters in Kentucky to rescue five children and two of his former teachers, CNN reported Monday.
Nathan Day, a former coal miner from Hindman, Knott County, received an alarming message from a neighbor on Thursday morning asking Day to save her grandchildren, according to CNN.
“I didn’t know what they was talking about, then I went outside,” Day told CNN. “You heard a lot of people screaming and begging for anyone to help.”
Without a boat, Day and his wife Krystal waded through the rising flood waters to a nearby home where five children and two mothers were stuck on the roof, according to the report. (RELATED: ‘This Is So Deadly’: Kentucky Flooding Kills At Least 16 People, Death Toll Expected To Grow)
“At 3 o’clock in the morning, I was in that water with my wife,” Day said. “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.”
After rescuing the children and two women, Day remembered two of his former teachers, Ella Prater ad Irma Gayheart, who both lived nearby, and began worrying about their safety.
“I just kept pacing back and forth because I saw the water rising and I knew my two former teachers were probably trapped in their houses, it was heartbreaking.”
Day and three other neighbors then went to check on Prater and Gayheart. Upon reaching Prater’s house, Day said he and the others held Prater “by both side[s] of her arms and never looked back.”
Gayheart said she was okay and had been sitting atop her counter as the flood waters rose around her, CNN reported.
“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. She spent the night on the kitchen counter top and water was up by the counter top,” Day reportedly said.
Reporting missing loved ones:
These are the numbers to call if you’re still needing to report a missing person. Call the KSP post that corresponds to the county your loved one is from. #WKYT pic.twitter.com/nfxvDV6QKT
— Chad Hedrick (@ChadHedrickWKYT) August 1, 2022
At least 37 people have died from the devastating floods, WKYT reported. There are dozens of missing persons, Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear reportedly said. More than 12,000 people are without power as well, according to WKYT.