Family ties children to with clings to trees during tornado - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

SURVIVAL STORY: Family ties children with ropes, clings to trees during tornado

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Larry White's family was out in the open with no shelter during the storms that ravaged the small town of Wellington, but managed to survive by tying themselves with rope and clinging to these trees. Larry White's family was out in the open with no shelter during the storms that ravaged the small town of Wellington, but managed to survive by tying themselves with rope and clinging to these trees.
Larry White lives in Louisville but his heart and family live in Alabama. They were there when tornadoes left a path of destruction. Larry White lives in Louisville but his heart and family live in Alabama. They were there when tornadoes left a path of destruction.
Assessing the damage after a mighty storm. Assessing the damage after a mighty storm.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Hundreds didn't survive, were hospitalized, or are still missing in Alabama after deadly storms and tornados ripped across the state last month. A Louisville man says much of his family's property was destroyed, but their lives spared as they tied their children together with ropes clung to trees to save their life.

Larry White watched the radar LIVE from his home in Louisville as the storm ripped through Wellington, AL, where he has a dozen or so family members. It took 10 hours for family to send word they were ok and two days for him to talk to his sister, who shared with him their amazing story of survival.

"This is her second son's trailer," said White showing pictures of a pile of rubble.

White's sister, Tammy Hardy, and her family had three trailers on 23 acres; now two of them are in ruins.

"Just look at the stuff, the debris on the ground," said White flipping through photos. "That stuff could be like missiles flying through the air."

The third trailer is still standing, but in bad shape.

"I praise God that they were OK, but then again I feel so sorry for 250 people who didn't [make it]," said White.

He headed south to help his family after the storms and walk down the path his nephew almost took to seek shelter.

"They had a metal clubhouse there that kids would play in and they actually wanted to go there for protection," said White. "It had to be a holy spirit thing. He said God was leading me there."

The shelter was flipped on its side, so the family had no choice but to huddle among four small trees, tying a rope around the kids and the men, then holding on for dear life.

"They're scratched up and they're bruised a little bit," said White. "Just hearing them talk about the sound and get hit by the dirt, just flying the dirt around, just makes you thankful that's all they have."

His brother-in-law is disabled and couldn't leave the trailer.

"He could not get out because the wind kept him in there," said White. "He actually stayed inside the trailer during the storm. He was actually hospitalized for three days."

He is fine now. White says objects can be replaced, lives can't.

"I'm not driving down there this week to 11 funerals," said White. "They're all OK."

The Hardys don't have insurance and FEMA originally denied their claim, but has since decided to help. The Hampton Inn is putting them up for free for two months and churches have donated food, clothes, and money.

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