This is what it looks like to stare down a massive tornado as it rips apart your home.
A terrifying video was recorded in April 2015 by Clem Schultz, who was in his Fairdale, Ill., home when a tornado began to approach.
Schultz, who said he has been interested in the weather since serving in the Navy, was confident the tornado would pass by and miss his house.
“All the time it looked like it was going to miss us,” said Schultz, who had been grabbing camping lanterns from a second storey in preparation for a power outage.
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The 85-year-old looked out the window and noticed a black funnel, taking the opportunity to capture some rare photos.
“It was a pretty good vantage point,” Schultz said. “I had a few minutes.”
That’s when the twister began barrelling toward his home.
Little did he know, Schultz would record even rarer footage.
“The floor was moving under my feet,” Schultz said, remembering the storms intensity.
In an instant, the category EF-4 tornado, which reached wind speeds of 320 kph, destroyed his home.
Schultz and his phone were thrown from the home.
“The chimney came down on top of me,” said Schultz. “I was totally buried in debris.”
Remarkably he just suffered a compressed broken vertebra.
Bruised and broken, Schultz was able to dig his way out of the rubble with the help of a neighbour.
The former sailor remembered sitting on houses beams as the neighbour warned him, “don’t look down.”
Schultz’s wife Geri, 67, who had been doing dishes in the kitchen at the time, was laying in the rubble beneath him, killed as the house crumbled on top of her.
One of Schultz’s close friends also died in the wreckage, and the white shepherd Schultz and his wife shared went missing.
Courtesy: Clem Schultz
Fortunate to be alive, Schultz believed he was left with nothing.
“I had absolutely nothing in my life.”
Schultz was slowly reconnected with his belongings.
A scrapbook from his time in the Navy was recovered, and a photo of him and his wife was located nearly 50 kilometres away.
The phone he used to capture the indescribable video was also found.
But it was finding his dog Missy, who had been lost for two days, which brought him comfort.
Now living in a house not far from where the tornado carved its path, Schultz is reminded of the storm whenever he feels pain in his surgically-repaired back.
But that doesn’t make him regret taking the video, saying he’s “proud” to have recorded it.
“I watch it quite frequently,” Schultz said. “I see something different every time I see it.”
Now Schultz is sharing his rare view from inside a tornado with meteorologists around the world in hopes his experience and the video will help save lives.
“My life was spared so I could show that video.”