Local News

Cary siblings survive tornado at Alabama university

Posted April 30, 2011 10:47 p.m. EDT
Updated May 1, 2011 7:42 a.m. EDT

— The second deadliest tornado outbreak in U.S. history struck several southern states including Alabama on Wednesday, killing 341 people and counting, and tearing through the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

Two students from Cary returned home Saturday for the first time since the storms hit.

Siblings Lee and Danielle Drago said surviving the tornadoes is an experience they won't soon forget, no matter how much they might like to.

"There's still going to be marks of it," said Lee Drago. "There's no way they can rebuild all that after what happened. It looks like just shambles."

Danielle Drago remembers walking back from her finance class when the sirens went off.

"We kind of knew at that moment to get in the hallway, away from all the windows. There were about 150 kids on the first floor of our dorm and likewise around campus, just kind of huddling," she said.

Several University of Alabama students were among those killed by the storms. Danielle Drago's friend lost her home.

"It definitely hits home for me because I've had sleepovers there. I've had dinners there. It was really scary," she said.

The university encouraged students who could go home to do so. The rest of spring classes, final exams and graduation were canceled. The Dragos said they were helping to clear debris before they left for Cary and wished they could have stayed.

But they said they feel lucky to be able to come home.

"I think we'll remember how lucky we were and the people we knew, how lucky they were, to still be here," Danielle Drago said.