Joplin Hospital Executive Recalls Frantic Flight as Tornado Hits

7 years 1 month 3 weeks ago Monday, May 23 2011 May 23, 2011 Monday, May 23, 2011 8:59:00 AM CDT May 23, 2011 in News
By: The Associated Press

JOPLIN, Mo. - An executive at a Joplin hospital says he was briefly sucked outside as a tornado hit the building.

Rod Pace, Med Flight manager at St. John's Regional Medical Center, says he was on the hospital's second floor Sunday evening when he saw swirling rain start to form.

Suddenly, the glass doors he was holding onto -- the ones with the 100-pound magnet to keep them locked -- were pulled open.

Pace was sucked outside briefly and then pushed back in like a rag doll but held on to the handles. He ran to the hospital's interior for cover. Then he heard the roar.

Pace says it was as if the building was breathing.  The hospital's staff moved patients into hallways before the storm struck, leaving the facility useless.

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