TORNADO: Mom Recounts How Son Survived Twister

By: Brittany Gunter
By: Brittany Gunter

A woman who was inside her home with her young son when it was destroyed by a tornado last Saturday night is speaking out about her terrifying experience.

23-month-old Evan Salerno remains at Pitt County Memorial Hospital, recovering from his injuries. The toddler has a broken femur, three broken ribs, a cracked pelvis and several other serious injuries.

His family says it is a miracle that he continues to get better, but it's how he received those injuries that still has his mother in disbelief.

Kelsey Salerno says she was inside her home at Camp Lejeune April 16th when it got pitch black outside. She had heard of the possibility of tornadoes in the area, so she went upstairs to get her son and was planning to then head to the bathroom.

"I was leaning over the crib to pick him up and just barely touching him when it sounded like a freight train was outside of my house and I looked over just in time to see his window shatter and just glass was flying everywhere," said the mother. "I got blown to the corner of his room, I just looked up and the next thing I know I'm tumbling around...I can't really feel anything, I know that I'm spinning and all I see around me is gray."

At that point Salerno says she blacked out. "I woke up in my backyard and I was trapped underneath a wall, it had me from my calf down. I couldn't get up, no one around me, I screamed for help."

The tornado had lifted the entire second story of her home, with both her and her son inside, and dumped it into their backyard. "Just absolute terror," said Salerno. "I just kept thinking it had to be a dream, that nothing like this could have ever happened, I was trying to just look around and not see anything but just pieces of my house."

Salerno says she then ripped her legs from underneath the wall that was on top of her, called 911, and frantically went to find her son. Neighbors came to help. Soon after a neighbor found Evan. "He was underneath his crib, the crib ended up going over him, kind of like a cage."

Which she believes saved his life. While Salerno had some teeth knocked out, was bruised and needed stitches, she says she's grateful they both survived. Salerno also says she wants to thank everyone in the community who has reached out to help her family and give them support.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Faye Location: Greenville, NC on Apr 28, 2011 at 09:21 AM
    PRAISE GOD FOR HIS ARMS OF PROTECTION!
  • by Tamara Location: Summerville, SC on Apr 27, 2011 at 01:24 PM
    Praising God for Evan's speedy recovery! Continue to be strong Mom and Dad!
  • by Cindy Location: Greenville on Apr 26, 2011 at 11:11 AM
    To God be the glory!! He sent His angels down to protect both of you. So glad you're both okay. Lil' Evan is so precious and just seeing his picture, I wish I could pick him up and hold him.
  • by A mom Location: Greenville, NC on Apr 26, 2011 at 11:01 AM
    I couldn't even start to imagine what you guys went through. I am so glad that you made it through that. You have a very handsome little boy and I hope that he gets better soon. You are very blessed. Little Evan is in my thoughts and prayers.
  • by Wow Location: Greenville on Apr 26, 2011 at 10:15 AM
    I'm so glad to hear that you are both okay. As a mother I can't even imagine what that experience was like. He is a very cute little boy, hope he continues to make progress.
  • by Girly Location: Cove City on Apr 26, 2011 at 09:18 AM
    All I can say is Praise God and bless your heart cause I'm sure that was the most terrifing thing you've every had to go through. I'm thankful that you and your son are both okay and I pray that he heals quickly and is able to come home to you. And it is wonderful to finally read a story that does have a happy ending.
  • by Anonymous on Apr 26, 2011 at 06:44 AM
    Guardian angels were with you and your son. Praise God for guardian angels! During that storm, I think a lot of guardian angels were doing double time. :)
  • by Anonymous on Apr 25, 2011 at 09:04 PM
    Praying for a speedy recovery!Evan and his family are in our thoughts and prayers.
  • by laura Location: greenville on Apr 25, 2011 at 05:45 PM
    I'm speechless, it's impossible to think of what that has to be like for a mother. It's amazing that you're both okay, and you'll have this story to share for generations. Evan is a precious baby!
  • by Trixi Location: Vanceboro on Apr 25, 2011 at 04:11 PM
    Praise God! After so much tragedy across North Carolina, what a relief to finally read a story that brings tears of joy!
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