Okmulgee Couple Survives Chile's Devastating Earthquake
By Dan Bewley, The News On 6
OKMULGEE, OK -- An Okmulgee couple has quite the story to tell after surviving last month's devastating earthquake in Chile. Charles and Susan Leggett are safe and back home in Oklahoma.
The Leggetts go to Chile every February to help harvest grapes from their vineyard. This year they were on the front row for one of the country's largest natural disasters.
"These are in, probably, Santa Cruz and Lolol," said Charles Leggett, Okmulgee resident.
It's been 19 days since Charles and Susan Leggett survived a harrowing experience in Chile: a magnitude 8.8 earthquake tore apart the country, killing at least 700 people.
"Oh yeah, you feel lucky that you weren't killed - that something didn't fall on your head and kill you," Charles said.
The Okmulgee couple own part of a vineyard near Santa Cruz, a few hundred miles north of the earthquake's epicenter. They were on their annual visit to help harvest the grapes when the earthquake hit around 3:30 a.m. on February 27th.
"So I heard it coming, and I heard it shaking and I yelled at him, 'Get up, get out of bed, there's an earthquake,'" said Susan Leggett.
Susan said the couple struggled out of bed and staggered to the doorway for safety.
"The pictures were falling off the walls, everything," Susan said. "If it was sitting on a dresser - sitting anywhere - it was crashing, it was breaking. Everything was breaking."
For three and a half minutes, they huddled together, praying they would make through the disaster.
"It seemed like forever because I remember I was praying for it to, 'Just please let this stop, please stop,'" said Susan Leggett, an Okmulgee resident who survived the earthquake in Chili.
By morning the damage was everywhere. In the area where the Leggett's grapes are package for shipment, highways were snapped in two, buildings turned to rubble.
Aftershocks made the coming days just as frightening, and the Leggetts were forced to stay outside until they could find a way home. But both say they love the people in Chile and plan to go back next February.
"I'm not afraid of it, I mean I don't want to go through another one so - I'm not afraid to go back at all," Susan said.
The Leggetts say it will be long road for the country to get back to normal, and they encourage anyone who can to donate to the American Red Cross.
Earthquake Relief Donations
1701 S. Cherokee
Muskogee, OK 74403
Indicate Chile Relief on memo line