‘I was scared for my life’: Campers have close call with tornado before Parks & Rec employees rescue them

Local News

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Some Tyler Soccer Association campers are recounting their close-call with a tornado this morning after being saved by Parks & Recreation employees.

Tyler Parks and Rec employees were able to get 25 teenagers who were attending a soccer camp at Lindsey Park to safety when a tornado hit the area around 9 a.m. Tyler police say they were able to pull the children into bathrooms and keep them safe from the storm.

“They start trying to get us all organized and get us into the bathroom where it’s safe after all of the tornados, there were 3 of them that formed into one and started coming toward us,” camper Brant Borden said.

The park suffered damage from the tornado that was confirmed to hit Smith County. A tree had fallen over the main road and there were bleachers that were ripped out and turned over.

“I was scared for my life by that point, like I felt like I was going to die,” camper Brooke Jackson said.

“We were praying the entire time, I prayed for everybody,” Jackson said. “Then we kind of like were holding hands.”

When the campers next stepped outside, they saw a different scene than before.

“We saw all these trees, trashcans blown everywhere, goals knocked down,” camper Gracie Beezley said.

The Tyler Soccer Association is currently assessing the damage and expect it will cost around $10,000 – $20,000 to make the repairs.

Despite the damages, parents, coaches and campers are relieved that their losses were only material.

“These are all things that can be replaced,” President of Tyler Soccer Association Randy Hill said. “We were just very fortunate. Things could have been so much worse.”

A viewer captured the formation of what appeared to be a funnel cloud near Lindsey Park.

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