JACKSONVILLE, Ark. – With a broken back and broken ribs, one man in Jacksonville shared his story of survival after being caught out in the tornado that ripped through central Arkansas.
“I was thinking, oh it’s just another thunderstorm. That’s exactly what I thought and boy was I wrong,” tornado survivor Brian Ratliff said.
Velcro strapped, neck brace on, and some assistance to stand to his feet. Brian Ratliff grew up in Arkansas, and when the tornado hit this March, he was caught in the eye of the storm.
“It sucks the breath out of you, it’s like a vacuum cleaner you have hooked up to your mouth because you just literally cannot breath,” Ratliff said.
A culvert was the place Brian and his fiancé took cover.
“I felt like I was saying my last prayer,” Ratliff said.
He jumped on top of his fiancé to protect her, that’s when he said he took one blow to the back from flying debris.
“It felt like I was hit by a car, and it broke my scapula, it fractured multiple vertebrae and multiple ribs and I had internal bleeding because I was coughing up blood,” Ratliff said.
“If it weren’t for him covering me up, I don’t know if I would be alive considering his damages , like he was my superman so he really did save my life,” fiancé Cheyenne Idom said.
This is the scene of the aftermath, and now on the journey to recovery, enjoying another beautiful day he gets to be around.
“I mean there are many different scenarios that I ask and I’m asking why and no matter how injured and banged up I am, I know I’m lucky and blessed to be here,” Ratliff said.
Ratliff wishes he was more weather aware and was more prepared to take shelter elsewhere. He said it will be months before he will fully recover physically.