Teen Survivor of North Carolina Tubing Tragedy Told Family 'Don't Let Go' as They Awaited Rescue for 16 Hours

After the family went over the dam in North Carolina, four of them clung together as they awaited rescue. Sadly, four others, including a 7-year-old boy, died in the incident. A 30-year-old pregnant woman remains missing.

What started out as a fun day of tubing on the river in North Carolina ended in tragedy after a family of nine lost five of their relatives on the excursion. The family was not wearing life jackets, and had no idea of the dangerous dam that lay ahead. 

They missed the warning signs posted about the dam and once they saw it, it was too late. All nine people went over, and the force of the rushing water at the bottom of the dam turned into a vortex of death. 

Four bodies have been recovered, including a 7-year-old boy. A pregnant 30-year-old remains missing. Four people held tightly to each other in the water for 16 hours awaiting rescue, including 18-year-old Irene, who clung to a tiny hole in a concrete wall with her pinky.

“They were telling me that they wanted to let go and they wanted to give up and I just kept telling them, you know, ‘Don’t let go. Hold on.’ I was like, somebody’s going to hear us. Somebody’s going to see us. And we’re going to get help. We’re going to get out of this,” Irene said. 

The group was finally rescued the next day. 

Since the tragedy, new warning signs have been erected at the dam.

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