MOORE, Okla. (AP) — The principal's voice came on over the intercom at Plaza Towers Elementary School: A severe storm was approaching and students were to go to the cafeteria and wait for their parents to pick them up.
But before all of the youngsters could get there, the tornado alarm sounded.
The plan changed quickly.
"All the teachers started screaming into the room and saying, 'Get into the hallway! We don't want you to die!' and stuff like that," said sixth-grader Phaedra Dunn. "We just took off running."
In the moments that followed, some of the children at Plaza Towers Elementary would, in fact, die. At least seven were killed by the twister Monday afternoon. Others would crawl out of the rubble, bloodied and bruised, utterly terrified.
The tornado that devastated this Oklahoma City suburb of 56,000 people destroyed Plaza Towers and also slammed Briarwood Elementary, where all the children appear to have survived. Students and parents recounted stories Tuesday of brave teachers who sheltered their pupils, in some cases by herding them into a closet and a restroom amid the fear and panic.