News / USA

Oklahoma Tornado Victims Share Stories of Survival

Oklahoma Tornado Victims Share Stories of Survivali
X
May 21, 2013 4:09 PM
The deadly tornado that ripped through the midwestern state of Oklahoma on Monday left entire neighborhoods flattened, homes, businesses and schools destroyed. As emergency workers sift through the wreckage Tuesday, survivors are sharing their experiences. VOA's Jeff Custer has more.
Jeff Custer
The deadly tornado that ripped through the midwestern state of Oklahoma on Monday left entire neighborhoods flattened, homes, businesses and schools destroyed. As emergency workers sift through the wreckage Tuesday, survivors are sharing  their experiences.

Among the countless buildings struck by the three-kilometer-wide tornado were two elementary schools - hit just as students were about to be released for the day.

Sherry Biddle, a teacher at Briarwood Elementary School, described how she helped her students protect themselves.

Deadliest U.S. Tornadoes Since 1900

March 1925: 695 killed in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana
April 1936: 216 killed in Tupelo, Missouri
April 1939: 203 killed in Gainesville, Georgia
April 1947: 181 killed in Woodward, Oklahoma
May 2011: 158 killed in Joplin, Missouri
April 1908: 143 killed in Louisiana and Mississippi
June 1953: 116 killed in Flint, Michigan
May 1953: 114 killed in Waco, Texas

Source: NOAA
"I had them take their backpacks and put them over their heads, just as another safety precaution, in the center of our room, in the center of our building," she said.

Briarwood third-grade student Caden talked about what he experienced as the tornado passed.

"I was on the ground, and I just, my ears just went WHOOO, and I couldn't hear anything except cracking and kids screaming," he said.
Incredibly, all the students at Briarwood Elementary School have been accounted for. Another school, Plaza Towers, was not so lucky.

Comparison of Tornado paths in Moore, Oklahoma - May 3, 1999 and May 20, 2013Comparison of Tornado paths in Moore, Oklahoma - May 3, 1999 and May 20, 2013
x
Comparison of Tornado paths in Moore, Oklahoma - May 3, 1999 and May 20, 2013
Comparison of Tornado paths in Moore, Oklahoma - May 3, 1999 and May 20, 2013
As of early Tuesday, police said seven students had died there and at least 24 were missing. In the chaos following the storm, rescuers and parents searched frantically for surviving children.

One emotional parent was able to locate his child. "I'm just happy that I was able to find my son and that my family's okay," he said.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin said "hearts are broken'' for parents looking for their children. She deployed the state National Guard and extra police to assist with rescue operations.

Loading...

  • A man stands among the wreckage in Moore, Oklahoma, May 20, 2013
  • Storm chaser Brad Mack records the tornado in Oklahoma.
  • The storm system that generated an F-4 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma is pictured in this May 20, 2013 NASA photo.
  • John Warner surveys the damage near a friend's mobile home in the Steelman Estates Mobile Home Park, destroyed in a tornado, near Shawnee, Oklahoma, May 20, 2013.
  • A fire burns in the Tower Plaza Addition following a tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, May 20, 2013.
  • Moore police dig through the rubble of the Plaza Towers Elementary School following a tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, May 20, 2013.
  • This photo provided by KFOR-TV shows homes flattened outside Moore, Oklahoma, May 20, 2013.
  • A tornado moves past homes in Moore, Oklahoma, May 20, 2013.
  • A woman carries her child through a field near the collapsed Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Oklahoma, May 20, 2013.
  • Seven-year-old Katrina Ash holds a doll as she waits in the back of a truck with her grandfather, Michael Bowen, after a tornado ripped through their neighborhood near Dale, Oklahoma, May 19, 2013.

You May Like

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: riano baggy from: indonesia
May 22, 2013 7:04 AM
this moment not make we down but we can rise again with hands in hands to built our properties and ours community.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid