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Texas man saw wife's final moments on video chat

GARLAND, Texas -- Garland, Texas has begun the cleanup after tornadoes damaged or destroyed nearly 800 homes. Property can be replaced, but lives cannot.

"I'm in bad shape. I lost my wife. She was my best friend, we were a great team together," Ruben Porras told CBS News.

He and his wife Petra were married for ten years, with four young children. They both worked as paralegals.

For Christmas, Ruben had surprised Petra with a special hair appointment. She was on the way home when they connected on FaceTime, the video chat service on iPhones.

"We were just talking about dinner, and all of a sudden she started screaming. All I said was 'Babe what's wrong?' Then the image just became black. And I said I am going out there."

Using a friend's "Find My iPhone" app, Ruben and a friend drove to the accident site. Blocked by firetrucks and debris, he ran the last mile and a half to find his wife.

"I look to my right and I see her vehicle. It was flipped over and it was crushed. I ran over there and I started screaming her name," Ruben explained.

"I was hoping she'd still be alive in there, you know? I crawled in to try to help her and I grabbed her hand - I grabbed her hand I said Petra wake up. Her hand was cold. I tried to check her pulse, and nothing. It seemed like she died instantly," Ruben said of trying to save his wife.

Hours later, he went home and called his children together.

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Ruben Porras

CBS News

"I just said to them 'Mommy is not coming home. She was in a terrible accident and she has left us. She will be watching over us.' We all just hugged each other and cried."

Petra was one of eight people that died in the city of Garland, Texas. All eight died in their vehicles.

Ruben says he wife didn't say anything about the weather while they were on the phone. He doesn't think she ever saw it coming.