by Dan Wing
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla., (CBS) – Officials in Oklahoma are trying to sift through the destruction left by a tornado that ripped through the Oklahoma City area Monday. The second twister in as many days has left more than 50 people dead, and dozens more hospitalized with injuries.
The tornado is classified a “devastating EF 4” by the National Weather Service. Its nearly 200-mph winds leveled homes, tossed cars and heavier trucks, and left residents distraught.
Many residents are sharing terrifying stories of survival.
“My husband told me to get in the bathtub immediately and put the mattress on, and when I put the mattress on he got on top of me and it hit our house and I held her in by her hair,” said one resident.
There’s nothing there man, it’s leveled gone. Nothing, nothing, nothing. I mean nothing. I don’t know how we survived, the three of us were in the closet covered. I have no clue,” said another resident.
Children at one elementary school escaped with only minor injuries, but at another, officials confirmed fatalities. Rescuers wearing hardhats are combing through the rubble of Plaza Towers Elementary where several children were pulled from the rubble Monday afternoon.
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin says hearts are with parents wondering about the fate of their children.
The Tornado followed an eerily similar path of a twister that devastated the area back in 1999, bringing back terrible memories for some residents.
“It hit me by two blocks. You just don’t think that it would ever happen to you, and it does. And I’m amazed to be alive,” said one resident.
The White House says the President has directed the government and FEMA to provide any assistance the state needs, and Oklahoma’s Governor says the state will consider tapping into its rainy day fund for the recovery.
Officials say more than 140 people are being treated at two area hospitals. Half of them are children.