'It sounded like a constant rolling, roaring sound' Arkansas' Tornado Survivors Recount Ordeal [VIDEO]
By Tanya Diente | April 29, 2014 11:32 PM EST
The fierce tornado that hit Arkansas killed more than a dozen people and left survivors in shock and others in despair. Below, as reported to news channels Fox and ABC, the survivors recount their ordeal in order to escape the devastation caused by the tornado.
First In Video news video photographer Brad Mack covers the damage seen after a tornado hit the town of Mayflower, Arkansas around 7:30 pm CST, late April 27, 2014. Tornadoes ripped through the south-central United States on Sunday, killing at least 12 people in Arkansas and Oklahoma and wiping out entire neighborhoods of homes, according to officials, as rescue workers searched in darkness for survivors. In Mayflower, some of about 45 homes were destroyed in a newer subdivision and a lumberyard was damaged, said Will Elder, an alderman in the city of 2,300 people.
Kimber Stanridge and a friend were with seven children as they ran to a shelter. There among other huddled people, they barely felt the tornado as it hit the city. The shelter was so strong. She saw the people inside all holding hands, praying.
Hall Sellers, 53, knew that it was the right time he and his wife had to ran to the cellar of an old house he owns. Although he has been in through many storms in his life, this one felt different.
Becky Naylor, 57 and her family rushed to the storm cellar in their home in Mayfower when they heard that debris was falling in nearby Morgan. She said there were between 20 and 22 people there and they were "packed like sardines". She had welcomed everyone into the cellar and people were pulling off the highway and just running inside for shelter. She said the men tried to hold the cellar doors shut while the tornado's winds tried to rip them open.
"It sounded like a constant rolling, roaring sound," she said. "Trees were really bending and the light poles were actually shaking and moving. That's before we shut the door and we've only shut the door to the storm cellar two times."
Mark Ausbrooks recalled it turned pitch black before the tornado hit. He was at his parents' home in Mayflower when the storm arrived. He remembered covering his head with pillows then "all hell broke loose". His parents' home was completely swallowed by the tornado.
Emily Tittle (17), along with her six sisters survived the storm. However, her dad Rob Tittle and two sisters Tori (20) and Rebekah (14) didn't survive. She remembers running and hiding under the stairs of their two-storey house before the tornado attacked. The storm ripped up the walls of their house and left only the foundation standing.
Carrol Arnett recalls what happened to her grandson Daniel Wassom (31) and his family. Daniel was huddled in the hallway of their home in Vilonia when the storm hit. With him was his wife, Suzanne, and daughters Lorelei (5), and Sydney (7). A large piece of lumber crashed towards the family at the height of the tornado. Daniel, who served in the Air Force, took the blow to shield Lorelei and suffered a fatal injury to his neck.
"Dan always put his family first," Arnett said, wiping away tears.
Mary Gubanski, 73. said she and her family survived the catastrophe by kneeling in the hallway of her home and praying. She recalled the sattelite went out first and she couldn't get any news. Then she received a text from her daughter telling her to take cover since the tornado was coming. Her husband went to look out the window and saw the trees swaying harshly in the breeze. That's when they all ran to the hall and just knelt down and started praying all at the same time, their arms all around each other.
"The Lord just took care of us. We are so thankful for the Lord that he helped us survive this catastrophe," Gubanski said.
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