As a deadly tornado bore down on her neighborhood just over a week ago, a Kentucky grandmother reportedly placed her two grandchildren in the bathtub with a blanket, a pillow and a Bible.
Her house in Hopkins County, Ky., was stripped to its foundation by the force of the tornado
“I felt the rumbling, I felt the shaking of the house. Next thing I knew, the tub had lifted and it was out of my hands. I couldn’t hold on, I just — Oh my God,” Clara Lutz told WFIE-TV.How a rare and deadly December tornado outbreak unfolded
Lutz — who said that in the turmoil she was hit on the head by the tank supplying water to the tub — began searching for 15-month-old Kaden and 3-month-old Dallas in the wreckage as soon as the tornado had passed.
“All I could say was, ‘Lord please bring my babies back safely. Please, I beg thee,’” she told the local TV network.
With the help of the local sheriff, the children were eventually found — still under the bathtub, which was upside down in the yard. They were reportedly not even wet from the driving rain.
Video: Rebuilding tornado-ravaged Kentucky town could take years (Associated Press)
Dallas had a “goose egg” bump on the back of his head, Lutz said, and he was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville with suspected bleeding. He was later released. The boys’ parents’ home in the north of the county was untouched by the storm, Lutz said.
Lutz didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The latest estimates place the death count from the Dec. 10 tornado event that swept across six states at 88, a figure that may still rise. An Amazon factory in Illinois collapsed, killing six. A nursing home was destroyed in Arkansas, killing one and critically injuring five, while a candle manufacturing plant in hard-hit Kentucky was devastated, killing eight.
Amid the destruction, there are also some tales of miraculous survival. A pastor endured the storm in a tunnel beneath the church grounds. A couple huddled in a closet with their two little boys. An inmate may have been saved from being crushed by a jail deputy in his final act of service.Surviving the tornado that ripped through my Kentucky bedroom
And in Trumann, Ark., an entire family reportedly went for a wild ride in their bathtub and walked away with only scrapes and bruises.
Jada Madden told television network News Channel 3 that she got in the tub with her fiance, Jerrett Watts, and their 8-month-old daughter after the tornado sirens went off.
“We grabbed a pillow, and we sat in the bathtub, and as soon as we sat down, [the house] was gone,” she said. “I thought I was going to be buried alive because I felt like I was just being pushed straight down.”
When the shaking finally stopped, the tub was in the middle of the street, surrounded by debris. All that was left of their house was the foundation, Madden said.
“My older child wasn’t with us that night. He went with his grandmother,” Madden told the TV network. “I’m so grateful. I don’t think we would’ve all fit in the tub.”