TODAY

TODAY   |  September 16, 2013

Flood survivors: Victim ‘dove in’ after girlfriend

When Wiyanna Nelson and her boyfriend, Wesley Quinlan, were swept away to their deaths in the Colorado floods, their mothers and two friends were present. The join TODAY’s Matt Lauer to recount the tragic event and remember their loved ones.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> well, we saw a lot of running water and we started hearing a lot of rocks hitting the side of the car and a couple of sticks picked up and hit my windshield and just a lot of chaos going on outside and then when you opened the door, there were like at least 60 miles per hour winds.

>> and nathan , you and wesley and she got out of the car. how quickly did you realize it was going to be difficult to do that?

>> as soon as we got out of the car, we really realized that we just got ourselves in more of a deeper situation honestly.

>> she was swept away once i understand and wesley was able to grab her again?

>> that's right.

>> and he brought her back and she started to be swept away again and emily, that's when you described she yelled to him.

>> she did and he dove in the water to save her. without even a second thought. he dove into the water and i know that he would have done the same for me or nathan . he was that selfless of a person.

>> nathan , you were swept away for awhile as well. the way you described it, out of control of your own body. just going where the water was taking you.

>> yeah, i flew down the mountain that i used to drive every morning down through school and every day after work and it was just a lot to handle.

>> you were rescued by a fireman that came down that same road.

>> yeah. i actually sort of caught myself on a real big branch that was snapped off of some tree and after like 15 or 20 seconds he drove up and i was just kind of blinded by his headlights for a little bit and i heard his voice shouting for me to get over the rocks and get out there.

>> you were in the car for three hours and the same fireman heard you honk the horn and came and rescued you as well.

>> that's right.

>> ladies, i want you to tell me about your children. tell me something about wesley .

>> he was loved by so many people because he was an unconditional -- he loved people unconditionally. he was not judgmental and he had a huge, huge heart. huge heart.

>> does it surprise you he dove in that water to save her?

>> no, i tried to instill the value of compassion and love and no fear. the no fear thing. don't let fear stop you from doing anything. everything is possible.

>> and you described her as someone who is just looking for someone to love her and she found that.

>> yeah. she did. i know that she was happy. she found a love that she had been looking for and she loved everybody. she was loved by everybody. and just knowing that she had finally overcome so much and she was getting ahead with her life and to see -- you could see her smile. i mean, i had people say it was nice to see the change in her.