‘Wizard of Oz ride’: Tornado throws house with girl in wheelchair and her parents into street

The storm threw the home off its piers and into the middle of the street
The storm threw the home off its piers and into the middle of the street (Pictures: Getty / AP)

A tornado that took off across Louisiana late Tuesday night threw a family’s one-story home into the street while a girl who uses a wheelchair and her parents were still inside.

The severe storm taking across the south threw the house off its cinderblock piers and into the middle of Prosperity Street, located in the New Orleans Arabi neighborhood, NOLA.com reported.

Hours after the storm passed, neighbors were horrified to find the wheelchair sitting empty on the curb. The discovery prompted a search for the wheelchair’s owner, a disabled girl who is on a respirator and had remained in the home after her parents escaped the rubble.

One neighbor, Chuck Heirsch, told NOLA.com he dialed 911 after finding the frantic family trying to get the girl, who is disabled and on a respirator, out of the house.

‘I saw the house and I saw my neighbor trying to get his daughter out of there,’ he said. ‘They were screaming. His wife was hysterical. They were already traumatized from taking that “Wizard of Oz” ride.’

A team of firefighters and first responders were able to successfully carry the girl out of the house in a blanket. She was hospitalized but is ‘doing fine,’ according to St Bernard Parish President Guy McInnis, who spoke at a news conference following storm.

At least one person died in the tornado Tuesday night, McInnis said.

Authorities said a 26-year-old man who lived in Arabi that was found dead outside of his home. His identity and the circumstances of his death have not yet been made public. Several others had been hospitalized and treated for more minor injuries.

A series of serious storms passed through the southern US early this week, hitting the New Orleans area particularly hard on Tuesday.

St Bernard Parish and Arabi were both hit particularly hard by the storm. Much of southern Louisiana is still recovering from Hurricane Ida, the devastating Category 4 storm that hit the region last August.

The storm front brought heavy rain and powerful winds to Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Around 5 million people in the region were under some kind of weather warning at one point, according to the National Weather Service.



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