The feeling of being stranded with nowhere to go after a hurricane is one that many Houston residents felt in the past few weeks. For one 14-year-old, her desperation as well as a debilitating sickness made her turn to the one source she knew would provide help: Siri.
Tyler Frank, 14, suffered from pain and fever on August 27 when water began to fill the home where she, her mother and three brothers lived.
After reaching no success with 911 and social media requests, Tyler thought about how to get help to her family and fast.
"I was like, 'Siri's smart enough! Let me ask her!'” Tyler told CNN.
Tyler was able to tell the Apple intelligent assistant to call the Coast Guard and alert them of her family’s location.
For Tyler, the situation had grown dire because she lives with the genetic disorder sickle cell anemia. When Harvey touched land, Tyler’s body became stiff and her red blood cells clogged and prevented oxygen from reaching the rest of her body parts.
When the water in Tyler's home rose to be nearly over her head, her oldest brother, Joseph, 18, carried her on his back to the roof. Her next oldest brother, Brayland, 16, carried their youngest brother, Jaquarus, 8, on his back, reported CNN.
At this point, Tyler had a fever of 103 degrees.
The following afternoon, Tyler and her family were happy when the Coast Guard finally arrived; however, their delight was thwarted when the emergency responders said they could only take elderly people at the moment.
"I told him yes, I have a child with sickle cell, and she's very sick, and I need you all to take her," Tyler's mother, Tameko Frank, told CNN. "She was standing right there in front of him. And he turned around and got on the helicopter and left," Frank added.
As the sick teen watched her only source of refuge fly away, she couldn't help but feel abandoned.
"Why did they leave when we really need them?" Tyler told CNN. "It made me cry."
In a statement, the Coast Guard told CNN, "Coast Guard first responders were faced with an overwhelming request for assistance due to Hurricane Harvey. On-scene rescue crews made determinations based upon emergent factors (i.e. immediate, life-threatening situations) and the conditions faced on the scene."
However, the next morning, a rescue helicopter arrived and took Tyler and her family back to safety. Tyler’s mother posted the rescue to Facebook Live.
Now, the family has to start over and has set up a GoFundMe page to help them rebuild.
"Our car is gone; our house is gone; everything's gone," Frank said. "We have to start over."
(Photo: PC Plus Magazine/Future Publishing)
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