Tales of Tragedy, Heroism Out of Oklahoma

Teacher threw herself over kids as twister hit school
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 21, 2013 3:48 AM CDT
Updated May 21, 2013 7:59 AM CDT
Oklahoma: Coroner Expects 40 More Bodies
Two men walk through debris in Moore, Oklahoma yesterday.   (AP Photo/ The Oklahoman, Nate Billings)

As frantic search and rescue efforts continued through the night in Oklahoma, officials warned that the death toll—which has been downwardly revised to 24—from yesterday's horrific tornado was still expected to rise, CNN reports. The destruction is "the worst thing I have ever seen," a highway patrol trooper tells the Oklahoman. The latest on the devastation:

  • The death toll includes at least seven children, who died in the Plaza Towers Elementary School, which was destroyed by a direct hit. Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb tells CNN, "Quite frankly, (I) don't mean to be graphic, but ... some of the children drowned, because they were in the basement area."

  • First-grade teacher Becky Jo Evans desperately moved her students into a bathroom and threw herself over them as walls collapsed, a friend of Evans tells the Los Angeles Times. Evans then helped pull children from the rubble, though some may still be missing.
  • AP photog Sue Ogrocki writes that a line of volunteers steadily pulled kids from Plaza Towers yesterday—calmly and quietly so that they might hear the cries of other trapped children. As they passed one boy along the human chain, his dad appeared and the pair were reunited. More on her account here.
  • The New York Times has a map of the storm's path.
  • Some 9.5 million people from Texas to Arkansas are still under threat of "large and devastating" tornadoes, according to a Weather Channel forecast picked up by MSNBC.
  • Want to help? The Red Cross has ways to give.
  • President Obama is expected to give a statement at 10am Eastern, reports Politico. He's already "offered to do anything he can to speed up our federal assistance," Gov. Mary Fallin tells MSNBC.
  • Click for more on the disaster.
(More Moore tornado stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.