CHESTERFIELD, Mo. (NewsNation) – A teen capturing several videos of her rescue from Missouri floodwaters is gaining a lot of attention on TikTok.
A reporter with NewsNation affiliate KTVI spoke with 18-year-old Catherine Ke and her family about the experience. Catherine said she was driving home early Sunday morning when her car began to fill up with water.
“My car started going into it and the engine shut off, but the battery was still on, I was hydroplaning,” she said.
She called her mom, Beth Ke, to come get her. So, her mom and brother headed her way, expecting only a few inches of water.
“I’ve lived here for 25 years and I know that this area can flood but I thought maybe it was just up to the bottom of her car, maybe she was just stuck and it was just something we were going to have to wade through to push her out,” Beth said.
Catherine said as the water got higher she got out of her car and tried to walk to an area that wasn’t flooded and that’s when things got worse.
“The current was so strong, I started drifting away,” Catherine said. “There would be moments where my head started bobbing up and down in the water and I couldn’t stand, so I thought I was going to drown.”
Catherine called 911 and dispatchers were on the phone with her for 50 minutes. She was able to grab onto something sturdy while dispatchers sent authorities with rescue boats to come get her.
“The current was just pulling me and I’m almost laying on my back going through the water until I grabbed onto the tree,” she said. “That tree saved my life.”
The dispatchers told Catherine to flash her phone flashlight so crews could find her. What Catherine did not know is that her mom and brother were also getting rescued out of their car a few hundred feet away.
“The water went from about 6 inches to almost 2 feet, enough to hit the front of my car, it was almost like a wave.” Beth said.
Beth and her son found Catherine’s car tilted upward, a light was on inside, but Catherine wasn’t there.
“I just remember screaming, ‘My daughter, my daughter is out of the car,’” Beth said.
As soon as Beth and her son were rescued into the boat, she could hear her daughter screaming.
“All I could do was hear her screaming ‘help me’ and as a mother that is the worst feeling in the world, to hear your child screaming ‘help me’ and you can’t do anything.”
Catherine, her mom and brother were all taken into an ambulance to make sure they were okay. All of them went home that night. Both of their cars were totaled.
Catherine turned to TikTok to tell the story of her rescue. With more than 9 million views, she hopes the video helps anyone who may find themselves in a similar situation.
“If it ever happens to anyone, I would suggest going out through the window, sitting on top of their car, staying calm and call for help, and don’t get out of the car like I did,” she said.