Oklahoma tornado 2013: First-grade teacher impaled by metal pole during twister
By Louise Boyle
PUBLISHED: 16:31 EST, 21 May 2013 | UPDATED: 16:54 EST, 21 May 2013
A teacher was impaled as she protected her students during the Oklahoma tornado after 200mph winds spewed out deadly debris from the twister.
Suzanne Hale, who had been protecting children at Briarwood Elementary in Moore, suffered a horrifying injury where her lower right leg was shot through by a metal pole.
It appears that Ms Haley had her leg pierced by the leg of a chair or table.
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT
Horrifying ordeal: Teacher Suzanne Haley, who gave this photo of her leg to a local Fox station, was impaled by a metal pole after the tornado hit Briarwood Elementary on Monday and she tried to protect her students
Rescued: Ms Haley, who teaches the first grade, was pulled from the rubble of Briarwood Elementary School by firefighters
The first-grade teacher had been cowering with the young children under upturned desks as the tornado barreled directly towards their school on Monday around 3pm (CST).
Ms Haley told FOX 25 that she was dug out of the wreckage by firefighters who braced her leg. She was driven to hospital in the bed of a truck and went into shock.
The harrowing site was one of many that emerged across the small town of Moore in the aftermath of the devastating tornado.
Trauma service director for OU Medical Center Roxie Albrecht told newsok that a code black was announced for the hospital on Monday - which alerts medical staff to the number of injured.
She said injuries ranged from cuts and bruises to open wounds and degloving - an injury when skin is torn off from tissue, cutting the blood supply.
Another elementary school, Plaza Towers was completely decimated by the twister which left at least 24 dead including nine children. Seven of the nine children drowned at Plaza.
Homes were flattened across a 20-mile area as rescuers worked furiously throughout the night to pull the injured from the rubble.
On Tuesday afternoon, rescuers brought in cadaver dogs as hopes faded of finding any more people alive.
Saved: Rescue workers help one of 15 people rescued after being trap in a medical building at the Moore Medical Center complex
Ferocious: The tornado on Monday reached speeds of up to 200mph and caused dangerous debris to fly in every direction
Devastated: The Moore Medical Center was decimated by the tornado
Some 237 people were injured and being treated at two hospitals after the local Moore Medical Center was also flattened.
OU Medical Center spokesman Scott Coppenbarger says the hospital and a nearby children's hospital are treating approximately 85 patients, including 65 children. He said their conditions ranged from minor injuries to critical.
Integris Southwest Medical Center spokeswoman Brooke Cayot says ten of 37 patients being treated at that facility on Monday are listed in critical condition.
Twelve are in serious and 15 others are listed in fair or good condition.
Cayot says five of the patients at Integris are children, including two who came from the Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore.
Wounded: Teachers carry children away from Briarwood Elementary school after a tornado destroyed the school
No shelter: Briarwood Elementary School was mostly reduced to rubble following the tornado on Monday
The state medical examiner's office has revised the death toll in Moore, Oklahoma to 24 people, including nine children.
Initially the death toll was thought to be much higher but it is believed that some victims were counted twice in the early chaos of the storm.
Nine children are confirmed dead, including seven who were pulled from the wreckage of Plaza Towers elementary school in Moore, ten miles south of Oklahoma City.
Seven of the children confirmed dead are believed to have been trapped underneath rubble when they were overcome by water from burst pipes.
The families were later taken to a nearby church where they continued the harrowing wait for news of their children. Some, hoping their little ones had made it out alive, posted photographs of their children on Facebook and Twitter, desperately hoping they'd be reunited.
Teams are continuing to search the shattered community after the tornado struck at 3pm (CST) on Monday.
The National Weather Service said the twister was on the ground for 40 minutes, with winds estimated at 190 mph.
The agency issued an initial finding that the tornado was an EF4 on the enhanced Fujita scale - the second strongest type of tornado - and that it was at least a half-mile wide.
However EF5 damage was confirmed near Briarwood school - making the survival of teachers and students all the more remarkable. The tornado tore across 20miles while being on the ground for 40minutes.