Faith sustained missing teen for 3 days, family says - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Faith sustained missing teen for 3 days, family says

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Tyler Campbell going into surgery. Tyler Campbell going into surgery.
The wreckage of Tyler's truck found off I-65 north. The wreckage of Tyler's truck found off I-65 north.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Days after he disappeared, search crews finally found 19-year-old Tyler Campbell alive. Hundreds of volunteers searched for him, finally finding him on the side of Interstate 65.

The teen crawled out of a 30 foot ravine, three days after crashing his truck. He survived with a broken leg and shoulder, with no food and very little water. 

Tyler went into surgery Wednesday at Huntsville Hospital to repair that broken leg and shoulder. His family joined us to talk about how three days of panic, turned into relief.

Tyler is 6"3', about 200 pounds - a tough kid with a gentle smile. He wouldn't have known it, but for three days, he would have to pull on every bit of strength he had in him.

"Tyler is just a special person," Tyler's father, Lee Campbell, said as he remembered back to Saturday night.

He said the entire family was at a church event when Tyler told them he was leaving to stop by a friend's house, and would be home by midnight.

When he didn't arrive home, panic didn't set in until morning. Family and search crews retraced Tyler's route home with no success.

They didn't know Tyler had fallen asleep on I-65 and didn't wake up until his truck went off the road and dropped some 30 feet into a ravine near the Alabama-Tennessee state line.

The crash broke his leg and shoulder.  Even still, he climbed out of the wreckage and tried climbing up the embankment and failed many times.

"He said, 'I just prayed to God to take my life.' He said, 'I went as far as I could go.' And he told me that God told him, 'I wasn't done yet,'" remembered Campbell.

Tuesday afternoon, in pain, cold, and only fueled by rain water he drank out of his broken headlight, he tried again and made it to the roadway where he was spotted by a driver. First responders rushed to his aid.

"He said, 'I want to talk to my momma and daddy,' and that's just Tyler," said Campbell.

And of course, Tyler had that same smile as always, even on a hospital gurney.

"It's just incredible, I knew he was tough, but not that tough."

And Tyler and his family drew from their faith during the ordeal.

"I don't believe in luck. It was the Lord. It was 100 percent in his plan, and his will, and his way," said Campbell. "He talked to my son through the whole thing, and I would say, per what Tyler has told me, they've become very close."

This family doesn't believe in luck, just faith that even after three days, they were going to find Tyler.

Tyler was released from Huntsville Hospital Thursday afternoon and returned to his home in Tennessee.

Copyright 2012 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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