Covering Louisiana

Jun 11, 2013 3:50 PM by AP(PHOTO COURTESY: MGN ONLINE)

Carrying aid, team survives its own tornado

LEESVILLE, La. (AP) - Members of a southwest Louisiana softball team went to a tournament with a trailer loaded with supplies for victims of the May 20 tornado in Moore, Okla., only to find themselves threatened by another tornado.

The Champion Softball team's 11 members and their families had been working in Moore only about 90 minutes on May 31 when they were told to return to their hotel because of threatening weather, The Daily Leader (Http://Bit.Ly/1a11aaq) reported.

"I had never experienced anything like what we saw in Moore," said Hannah Egan, 16. "It broke your heart."

The trip to the Triple Crown Sports World Series in Oklahoma City turned from heartbreak to terror while the girls were getting ready for dinner at their hotel.

"We heard sirens going off and we panicked, not knowing what to do," said Alexis Hagan, 15. "The hotel manager sent everyone to the laundry room in the basement. It was really scary."

They girls from Vernon, Calcasieu and Beauregard Parishes were among 250 to 300 people huddled in the laundry room, wrapped in sheets provided by hotel staff.

"We started to hear wind howling, thunder, rain, and the sirens kept going off," said Hagan.

The power went off.

"It was like a scary movie," said Kourtney McKee, 15. "We could hear sounds like trees and cars being thrown."

Egan said the change in air pressure "hurt your ears and made them pop. My 1-year-old niece was with me, and all the babies were crying and screaming."

After nearly four hours, the all clear sounded. The storm had shattered hotel windows; guests had to evacuate to another hotel, which also had no power. The Egans' vehicle was totaled; the trailer used to bring supplies to Moore was smashed; the windows were broken in Hagan's family's vehicle.

Madisen Smith, 16, of Rosepine, told the Beauregard Daily News (http://bit.ly/14uVxb5) that because their hotel was closed, the team decided to leave rather than play in the tournament.

Many girls on the team said the storm changed their outlook on life.

"Never take anything for granted," Egan said. "It can be gone in a split second."

» There are multiple updates to this story. Please click here to get the latest information.

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