Steve and Ledonna Cobb survived the massive tornado that ripped through Moore, Oklahoma on Monday and have a harrowing picture to prove it.
A photo of Mr. and Mrs. Cobb taken outside of the flattened Briarwood Elementary School was seen all over the world and became an iconic image of the destruction the EF-5 twister that tore apart buildings and killed 24 people caused. Steve is pictured carrying their young daughter, Jordan, while Ledonna is behind them with a bloody and bruised face holding on to the hand of another little girl. The rubble that used to be the school looks like a war zone behind them.
Ledonna told Diane Sawyer on ABC World News in an interview on Tuesday that she and her husband went to pick up their daughter from the school, but stayed to help other children find their own parents when the tornado hit. She was in a classroom when the twister tore through the school, collapsing walls and tearing the roof off. Ledonna protected the students she was with by using her body as a shield.
“I was just grabbing onto whatever I could,” Ledonna said. “Once the roof came off the building I felt myself being sucked and I knew if I was taken, all the babies underneath me would be gone too so I just held on. I held on for dear life.”
A wall fell on top of Ledonna and knocked her out, but miraculously everyone at the school made it out alive.
Steve said that the experience didn’t seem real as it was happening.
“I wish I could have split myself into two to try help out some of the other kids because I could imagine how they were feeling at that time, when their parents weren’t there and they were wandering around,” he said.
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The heroic couple’s daughter said she couldn’t believe her family survived.
“It seemed like it was an hour, it was crazy. I can’t even believe we survived that,” little Jordan said.
While no one was hurt at Briarwood Elementary, the story was not the same for another school just a few miles away. Seven children were found drowned at Plaza Towers Elementary when the monster tornado hit it directly in its path. It’s been reported that 24 people total died.