June 13th, 2008

unibrow

Boy Scout tornado account

From a scoutmaster who had scouts at the camp (from a stormchasing list I'm on):

Our boys all came through okay.
But it was very close. Two were in the building that took a direct hit,
burying people in brick and stone rubble, causing the fatalities. Our
boys were on the far side of the room, and got out with some scrapes and
bruises.

One of our boys, who was there on Staff, was herding his patrol to their
shelter, running at the rear of the group, said all of a sudden he felt
like he hit a brick wall, and found himself sitting on the ground beside
another staff member. They couldn't figure out what they had hit, until
they realized the funnel had dropped down right in front of them. And now
they were sitting directly underneath, looking right up into the center
of it. They knew that if they stayed where they were, they would be
sucked up and killed, so they decided to try to break through the wall of
wind. The first boy jumped through okay, but when Ian jumped, he only got
partway. His arms and head were outside, and he was holding on to the
ground for his life, as his feet were still inside, and were now pointing
straight up the funnel. His friend grabbed his arms, and was able to yank
him the rest of the way out. Last night he said that if his friend hadn't
been there, he'd be dead.

The scouts get a storm/tornado briefing the first day of camp, so they
knew where to go for shelter. They day before they had an
"accident" exercise, for first aid training. I understand that
the moulage was excellent: very realistic cuts, bleeding, etc. All of
which helped post-tornado, as the kids performed first aid, rescued the
camp ranger and his family from their demolished, house,
etc.