Local News

Sanford man recalls frightful tornado encounter

Posted May 17, 2011 7:30 p.m. EDT

A Sanford man who says he was carried into the air by winds from a powerful tornado a month ago says he is thankful to be alive.

Justin Suggs and his family lost everything in the April 16 storm that spawned more than 25 tornadoes that touched down through 33 North Carolina counties and killed 24 people.

Suggs was huddled in a bathtub when a funnel cloud slammed into his family's home and threw him about 35 feet in the air.

"I thought it was the end of my life," he said.

Suggs said he woke up days later in the hospital, where he spent nine days recovering from gashes, a punctured lung and a ruptured spleen.

"I thought I had been in a car wreck," he said. "(It was the) most pain I've ever been in. It was scary. I didn't think I was going to live."