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March 2012 tornado coverage

March 3, 2013

‘We should be gone’ — Former Henryville residents talk about being sucked up in March 2 twister



“I opened the back door and saw a bunch of debris,” Freda said. “I remember it came over the bedroom and under the floor. When it did, I let out a scream. But it was so quiet. I didn’t hear the train sound that you read about.”

Michael said he was looking toward the front of the trailer, where they had lived since 2004, and could see the funnel cloud grinding through the landscape, heading toward them. Later, the two were told there were two funnel clouds that joined together near their home.

“I remember going up toward the ceiling and something hit me in the head and knocked me out. I woke up in mud with a door on top of me,” Michael said. “It took the trailer off its foundation and just destroyed it.”

The two were thrown some 350 feet. While Michael was knocked out, Freda said she never lost consciousness despite losing a lot of blood.

“I could see her ... she was about 14 feet from me, but I had a broken back and couldn’t get to her,” Michael said of the moments following the tornado.  

Freda, 50, said she was sucked up inside the funnel and remembers dodging debris.

“I compare it to being in a washing machine going 170 mph on spin cycle,” she said. “I remember being slammed to the ground about five times and finally saying I can’t do this anymore, and asked the Lord if it was His will to just take me home. But I heard a voice say no.”

As the two were lying severely injured in the muddy field, all they could do was wait. The twister had stripped Michael of his clothing, except for his underwear, while Freda was surrounded by debris and a broken electrical line. She was eventually airlifted nearly two hours after the tornado to University of Louisville Hospital. Michael was taken to U of L by ambulance.

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