Injured Weather Channel Producer Talks About Tornado Encounter

Jun 5, 2013  •  Post A Comment

Weather Channel producer and cameraman Austin Anderson, who underwent surgery Tuesday for injuries he sustained when an Oklahoma tornado threw his truck 200 yards, described the incident from his hospital bed to the Austin American-Statesman.

"We were on the north and east side of this particular thunderstorm,” Anderson said, describing it as “the dangerous side.”

He was driving the Weather Channel’s "Tornado Hunt 2013" GMC Yukon, with network meteorologist Mike Bettes and cameraman Brad Reynolds also in the vehicle, when “for some strange, unknown meteorological reason, it turned abruptly to the left and headed right for us,” he said.

“The windows blew out as the car began to lift into the air from the tornado and it started tumbling broadside,” Austin said. “We were all strapped in.

“We must have rolled 10-15 times. We hit the ground and rolled some more and landed on the wheels with the top of the driver’s side completely pancaked down to the steering wheel where I was sitting.

“Bettes kept yelling, ‘Stay down. Stay down. It’s not over.’”

After a minute, Bettes and Reynolds got out and helped free Anderson. Their equipment was strewn across a 150-yard area, the story adds.

While Reynolds and Bettes were treated and released, Anderson was diagnosed with a cracked sternum and broken ribs and vertebrae. Surgeons were scheduled to install four rods and eight screws Tuesday to help support a crushed vertebra, he told the newspaper.

He will be in a back brace for three months. "I’m going to miss all of hurricane season,” he said.

One Comment

  1. The June 8, 1953 Flint tornado 60th anniversary is coming up and I was just couple of miles from it when it hit. My brother was born that day, so my folks were at the hospital and I was home with the other two kids. I was cooking, had the radio on, and the lights and power dimmed, then came back on. Some 117 people were killed and I recall a mass funeral on the lawn at the Catholic church down the street for some of the people who were killed. We were scared and didn’t know hat to expect, thought it might ‘turn around and come back’, so we stayed up all night. My Dad followed an ambulance home from the hospital, as that was the only way he could get through. Mom was in the hospital and was told ‘it was only a small tornado just north of Pierson Rd., and we lived one block north of that road. It was evening, school was out and that school was ‘gone. Also took part of a GM plant in its path. I was about 15 at the time. Thought you’d be interested in a look back from someone who was there.

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