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Sandpoint family escapes rushing wall of mud

Sandpoint family escapes rushing wall...

SANDPOINT, Idaho - One Sandpoint family is happy to be alive after a mudslide nearly destroyed their home and took them with it.

Saturday evening, Christopher Gay was outside with his fiance, Cara McClinton and their family. The six of them started to hear a rumbling sound.

McClinton's mother, Dena McClinton, realized it was from a mudslide and the family started to run inside the house. Only two young girls made it inside, while Dena dropped face first into the snow, hoping if she was covered in mud, she would have an air pocket to breath.

Cara tried to make it inside, but ended up pinned against the house by mud and logs. Christopher and their two year-old-son Lucas were swept away in the mud. Cara, was unable to move.

"It's probably the worst feeling that anybody could ever have in their life. You don't know where your kid is, you know, and he's only two. It's devastating," Cara said.

But, as Gay was swept up in the mud with his son, he was able to grab a piece of nearby debris and hold on. As the mud flowed, he managed to get his son to higher ground.

"The only thing I was thinking about was getting my kid to safety," he said. "I didn't care about me, because when you become a parent, you take an oath to take care of your kids. And that was my first though was make sure this little boy gets safe."

Dena said she was waiting for death while she laid in the snow. "I was just waiting for something to take me out. I was waiting for the mud to take me away, a tree to fall on me, a boulder to roll on me, and just praying that my family was OK."

And they were OK. In fact, everyone managed to escape with only minor scrapes and bruises. They credit that to some guardian angels.

"They protected us," Dena said. "I don't know, there's nothing else I can say. That's the only thing. We all believe it's true."

Gay and Cara say their home is filled with mud and bad memories. They now plan to move to be with his family in Wyoming.

"Thinking you're going to die and leave your kids here... it's hard to look at," Cara said while looking at the home.

In the meantime, they say they couldn't be more grateful for the community's support.


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