Elementary schools packed with kids sat in tornado's path

(CBS News) After Monday's massive tornado tore through Moore, Okla., another blow was delivered: two elementary schools with students still inside had been right in its path, leading to at least seven deaths with dozens more still missing.

Complete coverage: Oklahoma tornado disaster

The first school -- Briarwood Elementary -- was heavily damaged but, amazingly, there were no deaths.

Storm victim Isabella Rojas, who was in Briarwood Elementary, said, "All the desks were on top of us and the teacher got stuck and so somebody had to help her because the desk was on her leg."

As students emerged from hiding, many were stunned by what they saw. Teachers carried the children away from the worst of the wreckage, comforting them until thankful parents took over.


A mile away, at Plaza Towers Elementary, there was a different, far more tragic scene. The storm tore off the school's roof and knocked down its walls. At least seven children were killed.

Gov. Mary Fallin, R-Okla., said, "Our hearts are just broken for the parents that are wondering at the state of their children that have been in the schools that have been hit."

Throughout the day, neighbors and first responders pulled children from the rubble, passing them from person to person until they reached a triage center.


Throughout the night, dozens of crews searched carefully in the mud and rain for the two dozen children who are still missing. But as the rescue mission became a recovery mission many workers faced a grim reality. One search-and-rescue worker, Becky Nelson, told CBS News, "Many people are just very sad. I mean, as you can imagine, having to pull anybody deceased out -- whether it be children or adults -- is just going to be overwhelming for a person."

Watch Norah O'Donnell's full report in the video above.

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