Another heartwarming story comes out of the devastation left by Moore, Oklahoma tornado that has left 24 people confirmed dead, including nine children. Earlier reports of at least 51 deaths were erroneous, said Amy Elliot, chief administrative officer for the Oklahoma Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. More than 200 people were injured.
Teacher Rhonda Crosswhite‘s story has emerged and it is quite touching and heartbreaking at the same time (see the videos below). She used her body as a shield to protect six students from the devastation. The sixth-grade teacher at Plaza Towers Elementary told Today show anchor Savannah Guthrie, “I was in a [bathroom] stall with some kids and it just started coming down, so I laid on top of them. One of my little boys just kept saying, ‘I love you, I love you, please don’t die with me.’ But we’re okay. We made it out.”
Despite the 200 mph winds and flying debris, all of the children in the bathroom stall with Crosswhite survived, with only one minor injury among the kids. Rhonda walked away with just scrapes to her feet.
“I never thought I was going to die,” she explained, adding later that she did pray, “‘God please take care of my kids.’ And we’re fine.”
“We heard the sirens go off and then we all ran into the hallway,’’ fourth-grader Damian Britton told NBC’s Today.
“Some of us had a math book and some of us had our backpacks. [The sirens] went off again, and we ducked again. They went off again, and then we heard the tornado and it sounded like a train coming by, and then we were all in cover.”
Watch Rhonda and Damien tell their stories below, then go hug your kids.