7 Students Die in Okla. Tornado; Hospital Takes Direct Hit
MOORE, Okla. – The death toll from Monday’s EF4 tornado has been revised to 24 for now, with seven of those deaths being students from Plaza Towers Elementary School.
Plaza Towers Elementary was one of two schools in the tornado’s path, and local residents helped pull the students out of the building. The roof was torn off the school, and its cinder-block walls were knocked down.
Briarwood Elementary School also took a direct hit. Children were reportedly trapped inside the building but were eventually rescued. Teachers followed procedure by moving students to the innermost areas of the building, reports ABC News. The children got down on their hands and knees, covering their heads with their hands and backpacks.
Both schools were demolished, and neither received funding for safe rooms.
At least 100 people have been pulled out alive from the rubble resulting from the tornado, reports CNN.
Additionally, Moore Medical Center of Oklahoma was evacuated after it took a direct hit from the tornado. The formerly two-story hospital has been reduced to one story, reports CNN.
Monday’s tornado was two miles wide at one point, with winds reaching 200 mph. It cut a 22-mile path similar to another massive tornado that hit Oklahoma in 1999.
Because the severe weather was expected, area schools did not release their students at the end of the day on Monday, reports ABC News.
Area hospitals, including Oklahoma University Medical Center, have so far received 145 of the patients injured in the storm.