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Couple describes "flying in the air" during fatal Tennessee tornado

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Posted at 11:13 AM, Mar 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-05 11:13:16-05

25 people have been killed and dozens remain missing in Tennessee after one of the deadliest tornadoes in seven years, CBS News reported.

According to CBS News, there were 19 people killed in Putnam County, and six were neighbors on the same block.

One victim includes 4-year-old Hattie Collins, whose parents Matt and Macy survived. Josh and Erin Kimberlin also died alongside their 2-year-old, Sawyer, when their house was decimated, CBS News reports.

Officials said many Tennesseans were asleep in their beds when the system hit. Cookeville in Putnam County, just east of Nashville, was among the most devastated areas with 18 of the two dozen fatalities.

One Cookeville resident, Seth Wells, told CBS News about how he had been woken up at 1:50 a.m. with a tornado warning on his phone and described hearing a "deep roar" before rushing to take cover with his partner, Danielle Theophile, in their bathtub.

"We were flying in the air, into the trees back there, where once we hit those trees, the house... it just exploded. The house just disintegrated," Wells told CBS News.

Theophile continued to tell CBS News that she could feel herself "lifting and flipping over" while their house flew through the air. "I have no clue how we survived," Wells said. "Like 'Wizard of Oz.'" Theophile said she needed 15 stitches when her forehead was "split open" during the intense ordeal.

As they pick up the pieces and attempt to rebuild their life, Wells told CBS News that the couple won't "let go" of each other. "Not after this. Not ever. We're not letting go."