Monday 27 January 2020

Oklahoma tornado: family pictured round the world identified

Chris Irvine,

THE family at the centre of an image from the Oklahoma tornado which was on front pages and websites around the world have been identified as Steve, LaDonna and Jordan Cobb.

The Cobb family were pictured staggering out of Briarwood elementary school, in Moore, Oklahoma, which was hit by the EF5 tornado. The image was so powerful it was carried by multiple news organisations, featuring on the front page of this morning's Daily Telegraph.

Steve Cobb can be seen carrying his daughter Jordan, 9, away from the wreckage of the school, while LaDonna, a teacher at the school, sporting a black eye and covered in blood, clutches the hand of a second child, who is crying and barefoot.

In an interview with ABC news, Mrs Cobb explained that when the tornado hit, she tried to grab whatever she could.

"Once the roof lifted off of the building I felt myself being sucked, and I knew if I was taken then all the little babies underneath me would be gone," she said.

"So I just held on, I held on for dear life until the wall fell on top of me and knocked me out.

"I couldn't leave the other kids. They all are special to me and I couldn't leave them. I wanted my family to be safe but I also wanted everyone else's family to be safe too.

Her husband said that he "just tried to be the best Dad I could at that time."

"I wanted her to feel that she was safe and that we were all going to be OK," he said. "I wished I could have split myself into two and stayed there, tried to help out some of those other kids, because I could imagine how they were feeling at that time, you know, when their parents weren't there and they were kind of wandering around.

Jordan, who injured her leg in the process of the tornado, said the twister seemed to go on "forever".

The family stayed at the school in an effort to help other children who had not yet found their parents.

Amazingly no student was killed at Briarwood. Students at nearby Plaza Towers Elementary School were among the dead.

Rescue workers are nearing the end of the search for survivors and the dead after the tornado destroyed countless homes and claimed 24 lives, including nine children.

By Tuesday afternoon, every damaged home in Moore had been searched at least once, Gary Bird, Moore's fire chief, said. His goal was to conduct three searches of each building just to be certain there were no more bodies or survivors.

Crews also continued a brick-by-brick search of the rubble of a school that was blown apart with many children inside.

No additional survivors or bodies have been found since Monday night, Mr Bird said.

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