‘I’m just glad to be here’: Manitoba couple survives tornado

News source from CTV News

A couple in their 70s managed to walk away with only a few bad bruises after a powerful tornado ripped through Alonsa, Man., last week, causing their roof to crash down on top of them.

Earl Eyolfson, 76, and his 77-year-old wife, Janet, saw the tornado warning on television, but never noticed the F-4 twister barrelling toward their home. They headed to their basement when suddenly, their roof collapsed on them.

Eyolfson tried to help Janet, who was more seriously injured, but he was blocked by a table and a caved-in ceiling.

“She got it a lot worse than me,” Eyolfson told CTV Winnipeg. “We were calling back and forth to each other, but we couldn’t hear ourselves.”

Ten minutes later, two neighbours came to move pieces of the house and help get them out.

“I can’t remember too much,” Janet told CTV Winnipeg. “I’m just glad to be here.”

The Eyolfsons returned to what is left of their home on Tuesday to salvage mementoes and other personal items.

They consider themselves lucky, they said, because while their home appeared to have been merely clipped by the twister, several buildings just metres away were entirely destroyed.

“The only one that’s left is this one,” Eyolfson said.

Their property is not far from where the tornado’s sole victim and the Eyolfson’s brother-in-law, 77-year-old Jack Furrie, was killed.

Numerous residents in the town located 165 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg say they didn’t receive emergency alerts on their cellphones or received them when it was too late.

The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Service, which oversees the public emergency alert system, said it was gathering more facts to understand what happened.

The Eyolfsons don’t have a cellphone so they were forced to rely solely on television warnings.

With a report from CTV Winnipeg’s Beth Macdonell

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