Schools Destroyed By Tornado Leaving Children Dead
They're heartwrenching scenes from the aftermath of the hell storm that ripped through Moore, Oklahoma. Children pulled from the rubble of two elementary schools that took a direct hit from the massive tornado.
One child said, "The tornado went in and I was so afraid that I was hanging onto one of the desks."
Heroic teachers led their students to safety.
One man tearfully told reporters, "We had to pull a car out of the front hallway off a teacher. I don't know what that lady's name is, but she had three little kids underneath her. Good job, teach."
The first images to emerge of the disaster at Plaza Towers Elementary School revealed it had been blown apart by 200mph killer winds. Survivors held onto each other and wouldn't let go. 440 students attended the top-rated public school. Many rode out the tornado for an unimaginable 40 minutes.
A mile away stood Briarwood Elementary, where every child came out alive.
Desperate teachers tried to round up their students. Shell-shocked children wandered around as teachers did their best to comfort them.
Nervewracked parents raced to the schools praying their sons and daughters would be found alive.
Sitting with his teacher, little Camden got the hug of his life when his mom finally found him. Overcome with emotion, she wrapped her arms around his teacher.
"He was so brave, he was so brave," said the teacher.
Sixth grade teacher Rhonda Crosswhite told reporters, "I was on top of six kids. I was lying on top of six kids."
"And they're all okay?" asked the reporter.
"All of mine are okay," replied Crosswhite.
The brave Crosswhite appeared on the Today show and said, "I was in a stall with some kids and it started coming down, so I laid on top of them. One of my little boys just kept saying, "I love you. I love you. Please don't die with me. Please don't die with me."
She was reunited with one of the students she saved and his grateful mother.
President Obama praised the teachers' heroism.
"Our gratitude is with the teachers who gave their all to shield their children," said Obama.
Schools in Tornado Alley practice tornado drills the way the rest of America conducts fire drills. But practice cannot completely prepare a little one when an EF4 tornado comes their way.
"I had to hold onto the wall to keep myself safe because I didn't want to fly away in the tornado," said one little girl.
Another small child, upset and crying said, "A light went down and it hit me in the head."
A grim search continues for any bodies buried in the rubble. For these parents, teachers and students, life has never seemed so fragiile.