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Teenager from flood rescue garnering national attention reflects on her near-death experience

Chloe said her rescue came at the right time as she was drained after what seemed like endless hours on the rooftop.

WHITESBURG, Ky. — It's the video that showed the true devastation eastern Kentucky was experiencing.

Chloe Adams is the teenager who was stuck on a roof for hours in the viral video that circulated on social media.

Adams said it was a traumatic experience but she said she knew, while in her flooded house, she could die if she didn't get out.

"It was scary, because I wasn't sure if I was going to make it because as soon as I got off the porch, I knew there was no turning back," she said.

That was the do-or-die decision Adams said she had to make to get herself to safety.

In the early hours of Thursday, July 28, Adams was awoken by rain making its way into her home.

"I woke up to like a gurgling noise coming from my bathroom," she said.

RELATED: Here's how to help Kentuckians impacted by 'catastrophic' flooding

After looking out the window and seeing the water moving in quickly, she said she grabbed her dog Sandy and rushed outside.

"When the water was pretty much up to my waist in the house. And I knew I needed to get out," she said.

Adams then began to swim, knowing there was no turning back, but unsure what would happen next.

"I did have thoughts where I might die in this situation, and I might lose my dog, you know, it was very scary," she said.

She made it to the roof of a garage next to her uncle's home. Her other family members were already there, working to keep her calm from a window.

She was there for five hours. She and her dog were still stranded but safety came around the corner.

RELATED: 'No words'; JCPS teacher watches as eastern Kentucky floods ravage hometown

"I just jumped in the boat. And she was the first thing I saw when I rounded that dam," her cousin Larry Adams said.

Larry came to her rescue and turned on his camera; the result is that viral video that's been shared across the nation. 

Credit: Larry Adams
Larry Adams is seen making his way across the flood waters in eastern Kentucky on the way to rescue people.

He was amazed at her resiliency.

"She made that incredible swim. If you can imagine that. The river is here. The creek is there. And so the confluence is almost right in between. So she swam. She swam through the current to get there," he said.

Adams said that moment came at the right time as she was drained after what seemed like endless hours on the rooftop.

"I was really glad to be able to get off that rooftop and finally put my feet on land again, and be able to walk out there safe," she said.

She hopes that now her community can come together and rebuild what they've lost.

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