Eight people survived a deadly tornado in Mississippi on Saturday by hiding in the walk-in cooler of a restaurant, it has been revealed.
Powerful tornadoes ripped through parts of the US state on Friday, killing at least 26 people and injuring many others.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MSEMA) said that search and rescue teams from local and state agencies had been deployed to help victims impacted by the natural disaster.
Owners and employees at a popular diner in Rolling Fork, a rural town obliterated by the disaster, survived severe winds by sheltering together in the restaurant’s walk-in refrigerator.
The rest of the restaurant was completely destroyed, drone footage by MSEMA shows.
Tracy Hollins Harden, owner of Chuck’s Dairy Bar, wrote in a social media post that they made it into the cooler “about one minute before the building was demolished”.
“We are devastated at the loss of lives we keep hearing about and the hurt citizens we have been trying to care for tonight,” she wrote.
“The dairy bar crew was saved by a very small walk-in cooler and a bathroom. But truly saved by God.
“We made it into the cooler about one minute before the building was demolished. We will grieve for our community and love on the hurt and we will prosper again together.”
A customer with a broken arm, who made it through the storm, cleared debris away from the refrigerator door so they could safely exit after the tornado had passed.
She added: “Our friends that called and ran to our rescue…. you know who you are….we are forever grateful.
“The town is full of volunteers and we hope they know that we’d have been right there for them if the tables were turned.
“Please help someone that’s hurting tomorrow. You won’t have to look far.”
The National Weather Service confirmed the tornado caused damage about 60 miles north-east of Jackson, Mississippi.
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