Tornado hits land, injures 3
POMPANO BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- A tornado that came ashore Friday near the Pompano Beach fishing pier sent tents flying and injured three people, sending one person to the hospital.
"Hold your tents," a man is heard screaming on cell phone video footage as the waterspout approached land. The waterspout-turned-tornado made landfall just north of Atlantic Boulevard while hundreds of lifeguards were taking part in regional competition.
Witnesses said the tornado lasted between 15 and 20 seconds. "It was, 'Wow, first of all, this is happening,'" said Gerry Falconer.
Witness Joel Ramirez recalled how tents abruptly went airborne. "And then, at a distance, all these tents were flying all the way across [the beach], and it looked like a big gust of sand, and all these people were running, and it was all a little bit chaotic."
Grade school-aged Joshua Ramirez saw a person trapped in the water by the winds. "And then the wind pushed someone in the water deep, and it was really bad," he said.
"[I was] in a lot of pain," Nancy Deree Gutierrez, one of the three injured, said. "I was watching my son compete with the lifeguards, and then while I was looking at the event, I suddenly saw and heard a lot of noise and sand and water going all over the place. When I turned around to look to see what I was hearing, suddenly the wind, the tent blew me over and knocked me over, and then I fell, a full impact on the side of a cooler."
Fire rescue officials said one person had to be transported to Broward Health North with minor injuries. Two others injured refused transport.
"Anytime you have objects flying through the air, not knowing where they're going to land, that creates a little bit of fear, and hopefully no one gets hurt," said Falconer.
Shortly after the tornado hit, the lifeguard competition went on as planned.
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