A storm chaser is speaking out about seemingly miraculous circumstances surrounding a family he rescued in the wake of a deadly Mississippi tornado.
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Jonny Gabel, who has been chasing storms for the past five years, described a harrowing ordeal when he helped pull family in Rolling Fork, Mississippi, out of the rubble.
Now, Gabel told People he’s planning to help the family members rebuild their decimated home.
“Their home is completely destroyed,” he wrote in a GoFundMe. “100% of the funds will be used to help them or help other victims affected by tornados. The funds will be used to build them a new house (if insurance doesn’t cover it, or if there’s some sort of financial obstacle) or the funds will be used to get them into a new home as soon as possible.”
Gabel told People how he and others decided to shift into rescue mode Friday after initially chasing the storm, heading to hard-hit Rolling Fork to help pull people from the rubble.
He recalled hearing someone yell, “I need help! Help! Please come help me!” So, he went over to the house from which the screams were coming and discovered an elderly woman sitting up in her bed, surrounded by devastation.
Watch footage from the rescue:
@therainman_ Scary, heartbreaking situation in #Mississippi. #rollingfork #MS was leveled by what is expected to be at least ef4 tornado. We pulled this family out of their collapsing home. The grandmother of this family was sleeping when the tornado hit. She didn’t wake up til her bedroom wall and her roof was ripped off. She’s elderly and handicapped so we had to support her weight so she could call and get out of the house. The other men mbers of the family, including the little girl being carried out, were all in the other side of the home which was collapsed. Everyone in this family survived. Miraculously. The grandmother had a small cut on her thumb. We also dug through the rubble other homes and businesses which were totally collapsed. We unfortunately found some people who didn’t make it. Heartbreaking. Devastated. We just left Rolling Fork. We’re in the car now and on our way to #Amory or #Wynona to provide any help we can. Numerous cities in #Mississippi ♬ original sound – Jonny B Wx
Her roof and a wall were gone and, remarkably, she was virtually unscathed aside from a cut on her thumb. Gabel and others helped the woman get out of the house.
As it turns out, he wrote on GoFundMe that the “entire family survived without injury” — something that seemed to absolutely stun him.
“I just said, ‘Thank God you all survived. This is kind of a miracle,'” Gabel said. “Because just a hundred yards away, the Dollar General was just completely destroyed.”
He has vowed to help the family rebuild and will donate his labor to help them secure a new home. Here’s more about his fundraiser.
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