Nightly News | September 30, 2013
>>> as promised we are back with an nbc exclusive. we hear from the american family that was trapped in the mall in kenya with gunmen around them. that includes a little girl rescued by a stranger. they are describing for the first time how they were able to make it out of there. their story tonight from nbc 's ron allen in nairobi .
>> reporter: the walton family is grateful for each day together. catherine and her five kids were rescued from the nairobi mall, including 4-year-old portia , a moment captured in this iconic image. dad philip was miles away in north carolina on business, as his family lived through a nightmare. how long were you trapped?
>> three and a half to four hours. it was terrifying.
>> reporter: catherine and the three girls had come down the main escalator. this escalator in ruins after the four-day siege.
>> there was a loud explosion, sounded like breaking glass . then people started screaming and running. then i grabbed the girls and started just running.
>> reporter: the two boys were trapped in the grocery store . here is that store after the siege. the most intense fighting happened here. these exclusive photos show the mall ravaged by gunfire, explosions and fire. after becoming a battle zone .
>> reporter: portia laid down flat as she could on her stomach, put her hands in her ears and laid there for hours motionless and quiet .
>> trying to stay alive.
>> reporter: local businessman b abdul haji came to the mall to help his brother. when he spotted the waltons he called to portia .
>> i held my hands out, asked her to run and she just ran towards us. at that point i thought she was very, very brave.
>> reporter: what do you say to her to convince her to go? we teach our kids not to go to strangers.
>> i think she knew it was a chance to get out.
>> reporter: you're a father of four yourself.
>> she's the same age at my daughter.
>> reporter: catherine and the girls got out and learned the boys had already escaped. haji and the waltons now share an intense bond.
>> love him to death. you know, when we met him for the first time after this started, i put my arms around him and started crying.
>> reporter: a family with a brave little girl and a stranger who came to the rescue. ron allen , nbc news, nairobi .