Tornado Flings Girl Into Air During School Celebration

Tornadoes aren’t supposed to happen when the skies are blue and beautiful. Tell that to the students of the Yuanquan Town Elementary School in the Gansu province. Located in northwestern China, the area has seen a bout of bizarre weather in recent months. In March, a 10-minute sandstorm appeared out of nowhere and covered the entire city in two inches of sand. Yesterday, however, the swirling winds carried something much more substantial, as they tossed a nine-year-old girl high into the air.

Hundreds of children were gathered on the playground outside of the school to participate in an after-school sporting celebration. Part of an annual tradition, students work with one another to complete athletic challenges while learning team building skills. This year, though, children learned the importance of following directions as the wind funnel appeared suddenly. While teachers urgently told their students to lie on the ground and bunch up next to each other, the warning came too late for young Li Jiaqi.

As onlookers videotaped the freak storm, they also captured footage of the terrified girl being sucked up into the air. As coats, bags, and sporting equipment were tossed into the sky, the cries of the girl were heard by her classmates. The whole event lasted less than two minutes.  After the landspout disappeared, teachers ran to the aid of a terrified Li, who had been dropped to the ground.

She was rushed to a local hospital where, amazingly, she needed only limited medical care. Despite having been plucked from the ground and tossed over twenty feet into the air, she walked away with only a few bruises and scrapes. Li was released from the medical facility two hours after arrival. Her parents and teachers state that she is shaken up but overall, in high spirits. This is yet another example of weird news, and the resiliency of children.

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