Trucker survives direct hit by powerful winds - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Trucker survives direct hit by powerful winds


The damage in Adairsville is extensive; dropped power poles, flipped cars and a destroyed factory.  

Trucker Eric Harper managed to survive the tornado, even though powerful winds tossed his truck on its side like a toy.

"All of the sudden it got harder and harder and I looked around, 'I hope it don't blow me over,'" said Harper. "Before I got the words out of my mouth good, wham! I was lying over to the side."

Harper survived the tumble in the truck. Other truckers first helped him out of the damaged cab, he's lucky he's only got minor injuries.

"Hurt my shoulder really good right here real bad, I got against the thing there," Harper said.

Just across the street from where Harper's truck was damaged, the Diaki metals fabrication shop was torn to shreds by violent winds. CBS Atlanta News caught up with workers wandering away from the wreckage.

"How are you alive?" asked CBS Atlanta News reporter Steve Kiggins.

"Really, I don't know man," replied George Rhodes. "Everything else is destroyed out there."

Diaki workers heeded tornado warnings and took cover shortly before winds destroyed most of the factory.

"The roof got sucked up had one person get hurt but he's OK," said Greg Gardner. "It all just hit at one time. It took a matter of about 10 seconds and it was over with."

At the Northside Bank next door, winds tossed cars like toys while employees took shelter in the vault.

"We were in there probably for only 10 or 15 seconds and you could feel the pressure in your ears change like riding in an airplane," said Mark Wanson. "After a few minutes it quieted down and then we started assessing the damage."

As for Harper, his wounds are minimal and he's happy he wasn't driving when the storm hit.

"I just thank God that I was here at the lot when it happened instead out on the highway," said Harper.

There is still a lot of assessment yet to happen in Adairsville. Power crews worked hard into Wednesday night to get energy back online. The full scale of the damage might not be realized until the sun comes up Thursday.

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