A teenage girl suffering from a debilitating genetic disorder managed to save herself and her family during Hurricane Harvey by calling on Apple's voice-activated assistant, Siri.

Fourteen-year-old Tyler Frank was among the tens of thousands of residents impacted by the devastating storm across Texas and Louisiana, but her ordeal worsened after experiencing a painful attack related to her sickle-cell anaemia.

The condition, which creates malformed red blood cells that prevent oxygen from being transported properly, struck as Tyler, her mother and three brothers were all forced onto the roof of their Texas home as the waters rose.

The combination of both trauma and exposure may have triggered the crisis, but Tyler fought through the pain to help her family.

After unsuccessful attempts to call for help via 911 and with their social media posts on Facebook and Instagram likely getting lost among the huge swathe of pleas for help, Tyler instead turned to Apple's Siri, and asked it to call the Coast Guard.

"I was like, 'Siri's smart enough! Let me ask her!'," Tyler told CNN, recalling her entire experience after waking up to chest-high waters on 27 August. The call successfully connected and a helicopter arrived the following day, but Tyler, who now had a 103-degree fever as a result of the attack, was left behind due to the overwhelming need for aid.

"I told [the rescuer] yes, I have a child with sickle cell, and she's very sick, and I need you all to take her," said Tyler's mother, Tameko Frank. "She was standing right there in front of him. And he turned around and got on the helicopter and left."

In a statement, the Coast Guard explained that: "Coast Guard first responders were faced with an overwhelming request for assistance due to Hurricane Harvey. On-scene rescue crews made determinations based upon emergent factors (i.e. immediate, life-threatening situations) and the conditions faced on the scene."

Undeterred, Tyler called the number Siri had provided once more. This led to a second helicopter a day later, which took her to safety. Tyler received medical attention in Pasadena before being moved to Memorial Hermann hospital in Houston, and finally Texas Children's Hospital. She has since been discharged, with her family joining thousands of Harvey-hit households sharing hotel rooms and living off donations.

Hurricane Harvey
People walk down a flooded street as they leave their homes in HoustonJoe Raedle/Getty Images