(NORTHAMPTON COUNTY, Va.) -- Police have identified a couple who were killed in their tent by a tornado that ripped through a packed campground on the eastern shore of Virginia early Thursday, injuring two dozen people.
Ferocious winds twisted trailers and mangled trees as golf ball-sized hail rained on more than 1,300 panicked vacationers huddling for safety at the Cherrystone Family Camping Ground and RV Resort in Northampton, Virginia.
During a news conference Thursday, Virginia State Police said a tree had fallen on one tent, killing husband and wife Lord Balatbat and Lolabeth Ortega, both 38, and critically injuring their 13-year-old son, who was in a nearby tent. The family was visiting from Jersey City, New Jersey.
“We’re in a 37-foot motorhome and it started rolling back and forth and we’re hearing stuff slamming,” said Jerry Kennett.
Northampton County had been under a tornado warning until 9 a.m.
Winds up to 100 miles per hour snapped trees and flipped a tractor-trailer. After surveying the damage, the National Weather Service confirmed it was an EF-1 tornado.
“All the sudden, the wind started picking up, hail [the] size of golf balls … and you could see the wind spinning and it would change direction,” said Peyton Asal. “I mean, we were in the eye of this tornado. … It was scary.”
A total of 38 people were taken to hospitals with broken bones, lacerations and cuts.
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