A sick teenage girl used Siri to call for help during Hurricane Harvey but says the Coast Guard left her stranded in rising floodwaters overnight before she was rescued.
Tyler Frank, 14, of Houston, Texas, was stranded outside in the rising flood waters when she suffered a sickle cell crisis – an excruciatingly painful condition where malformed red blood cells clog up blood vessels, cutting off oxygen to certain organs and tissue.
She says she tried calling 911, and even begged for help on social media, but to no avail, so she turned to her phone.
‘I was like, ‘Siri’s smart enough! Let me ask her!’ ‘ Tyler told CNN.
She asked the Apple iPhone assistant to call the Coast Guard who told her she was ‘brave’ and promised to send a helicopter as soon as they could.
The chopper arrived the following afternoon, by which time Tyler, a ninth-grader at Forest Brook High School, was running a 103 degree fever.
Tyler’s mother, Tameko Frank, told the rescue teams: ‘I have a child with sickle cell, and she’s very sick, and I need you all to take her.’
But to the family’s shock and dismay, the rescue crew told her that they were only taking elderly people. Someone would have to come back for Tyler who burst into tears.
‘She was standing right there in front of him. And he turned around and got on the helicopter and left,’ Tameko Frank said.
It would be another day before the family were finally rescued from the roof of their home.
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.’
When the second helicopter did arrive the following morning, Tyler was seen by doctors in Pasadena, Texas, before being taken to Texas Children’s Hospital.
Tyler, who has been in and out of hospital since she was born, was treated and was discharged on Friday.
But the family faces another upheaval as their home, car and possessions, were destroyed by the hurricane.
Tyler, her four brothers, and their mom, are currently sharing one room at a Super 8 hotel off a Houston highway.
‘Everything’s gone,’ Frank said. ‘We have to start over.’