Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013
Amid the tragic stories that emerged following the tornado that devastated the town of Moore, Oklahoma on Monday afternoon were a number of heroic tales of teachers comforting and protecting their students at great personal risk during the terrifying storm. CNN reports on Plaza Towers Elementary School, which suffered the loss of 7 students:
“It was scary,” student Julio Rodriguez told CNN. Teachers instructed the kids to crouch down, “and you covered your head with your hands,” he demonstrated.
The school quickly became the epicenter of the tragedy in this shattered town, part of the metropolitan Oklahoma City area.
First responders and volunteers rushed to the scene to begin the treacherous work of searching for survivors.
“We had to pull a car off a teacher and she had three little kids underneath her,” one first responder, in tears, told KFOR. “Good job, teach.”
“I was on top of six kids,” one sixth grade teacher said, working her way across the rubble. “I was lying on top. All of mine are OK.”
Teachers helped tear through several feet of rubble to rescue sobbing students, some of them injured.
Rescue teams successfully pulled several kids from the leveled school.
But with each passing hour, the hope began to fade.
Crews continued their search around the clock, rummaging through nearly 40 feet of rubble, CNN affiliate KOKH reported.
Some students were fortunate — they got out of the school before the tornado struck.
Officials had managed to bus some children to a nearby church, which turned out to be clear of the tornado’s direct path, KFOR reported.
Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012
Thirteen-year-old William Hickman is “lucky to be alive” after a harrowing incident in which he was stranded by a waterfall in Washington state. Hickman cites the “Pendragon” series of fantasy books as having taught him the skills he needed to scramble to safety, as MSNBC.com reports:
Hickman was hiking Saturday with his father, 9-year-old brother and friends above Wallace Middle Falls, near the town of Gold Bar about 45 miles northeast of Seattle. He wanted to cool off.
“I wanted to go in … just to wade a little bit,” Hickman said at a Monday news conference, where he was joined by the people who staged a dramatic, middle-of the night operation.
But he slipped and the whitewater swept him over a 10-foot drop into a deep pool above the waterfall.
In the water, the teen quickly thought of advice from a fantasy-novel character Bobby Pendragon of the Pendragon Adventure books by D.J. MacHale: “Go feet first, stay to the sides and kick off the rocks,” the Seattle Times reported.
He managed to scramble onto a narrow rock shelf just before the main falls.
He stayed there, cold and wet, for the next eight and a half hours, Hickman and rescuers said. His father shouted encouragement, telling him he was going to be OK. Rescue crews later tossed him blankets, energy bars and fruit snacks.
Image: Waterfall, via Shutterstock.
Tuesday, October 25th, 2011
Tolga Bozoglu / EPA, via MSNBC.com
A 2-week-old baby girl who had been pinned in her mother’s arms during the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck eastern Turkey Sunday was rescued safely nearly 48 hours after the disaster. The rescue workers also rescued the girl’s mother, alive, from the apartment building that had collapsed around them. The baby’s grandmother was brought out of the wreckage on a stretcher, but it was unclear whether she had survived. [UPDATE: The grandmother has also reportedly survived.]
Young Azra Karaduman was removed from the wreckage, naked and wrapped in a blanket, to the sounds of applause from rescuers and the quick attention of medics, MSNBC.com reports.
“I am so excited. What can I say. Let God help them,” the child’s other grandmother, Sevim Yigit, told Reuters, eyes brimming with tears of joy beneath her headscarf.
The baby’s father, who was also in the building, has not yet been located.
An estimated 2,000 buildings collapsed in the earthquake. More than 350 people have been reported dead, and 1,300 injuries are reported so far.
(image via: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/)
Wednesday, August 17th, 2011
In the wake of a number of recent headlines about missing children, an inspiring story out of New Mexico tells how a neighbor rescued a 6-year-old girl who had been taken by a suspected kidnapper. CNN.com reports:
Antonio Diaz Chacon noticed a commotion when a man grabbed the girl at a mobile home park in southwest Albuquerque.
Chacon saw the man, later identified as Phillip Garcia, cover her mouth and place her in a blue van, according to an Albuquerque police report.
“We heard a man going, ‘Hey, hey, let her go,’” his wife, Martha Diaz, told a 911 dispatcher. “The man came running to us. He said, ‘They stole our little girl.’”
“My husband went after him,” she said.
Chacon chased the van for several miles before Garcia crashed into a light pole and fled on foot, allowing him to rescue the girl and return her home, police said.
Garcia later returned to the van, police said. He fled down the roadway and got stuck on a mesa before being apprehended, police said.
Garcia has been charged with kidnapping, child abuse and tampering with evidence.