Field trip group returns from Alabama to tell WHAS11 about tornado ravaged area


by Mike Colombo

Posted on April 28, 2011 at 6:19 PM

Updated Friday, Apr 29 at 12:06 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Rescuers continue to sift through debris hoping to find survivors from a devastating tornado outbreak.

The storms killed at least 292 people leaving behind a wake of destruction across six states. Meteorologists are confirming more than 170 tornadoes touched down over the past 24 hours.
President barrack Obama is scheduled to tour the damaged areas Friday.

We're hearing from 38 students and chaperones that were caught in the middle of these tornadoes.

Evangel Christian School fifth and sixth graders have never been welcomed home from a field trip like this.

But most field trips don't make you part of one the deadliest tornado outbreaks in U.S. history.

This group of students and chaperones were in Huntsville, Ala. stopped for lunch at a McDonald’s on their way to tour the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. That's when the skies turned black--and the tornado sirens went off.

"I scared my mom half to death because I called her and my call dropped. The last thing she heard was I love and get in the freezer," said Jordan Gannon a fifth grader.

In this social networking age, Mitchell Sellinger said his goodbyes online with his mom Becki helplessly reading it all.

They'd wait out the first round of storms in that freezer before heading to space camp only to have their second run in with Mother Nature.

"We were watching a movie and all the lights completely went out. We heard screams from the other buildings. We were just expecting to die," said Mitchel Sellinger.

At least eight people in Huntsville died. Everyone on the field trip was safe. The families they returned home to are counting their blessings while remembering the saying there's no place like home.

The kids gave thanks to the McDonald’s staff and the people at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center for keeping them calm in these tense situations.