A father and his two sons jumped down an embankment just in time as the tornado raced across Craig County on its way to Picher. News On 6 anchor Craig Day reports other survivors in that same area say they owe their lives to a storm shelter, and their peace of mind to rescue crews.
As the tornado carved a path of destruction across Craig County near Welch, Bob Carter could see it coming and it was closing fast.
"It was right there. It was just, it couldn't have been a block from us," said Bob Carter.
Carter and two others were trying to get to Richard and Barbara Green's cellar. The Green's weren't home, but they couldn't wait. The twister was getting closer. They barely made it underground in time.
"About that time, all of the air came out of the cellar. Just took all the air out of the cellar," said Bob Carter.
Once the tornado passed right over the top of them, and it was safe to come outside, Carter and the others tried to open the cellar door. They did have a small light, but it was very dark. The door wouldn't budge. And, they waited and waited and waited for help to arrive.
"There's not a whole lot of room down in one of those things," said Bob Carter, noting the longer you're down there, the smaller the cellar seems.
A downed oak tree landed right on top of the cellar door.
"They had water, and we needed the water pretty quick when we got down there. I don't know about the rest of them, but my throat was pretty dry," said Bob Carter.
They could only open the door an inch.
"I thought, I've got to have some light or some air to something in here to keep me from panicking," said Bob Carter.
Finally, after about 45 minutes of waiting, the survivors were thankful help arrived and grateful for their friend's investment.
"Even though it didn't save our life, it was well worth every dollar, every penny we put in it. Every penny and more," said Barbara Green about her storm cellar.
Some towns have programs where you can register with emergency personnel to have them check on you in the aftermath of a storm, just in case you're trapped.
Emergency workers say it's a good idea to see if you're town or county has one.