Fourteen-month-old Angel Babcock was thrown from her home in New Pekin, Indiana, by the tornados that ravaged the American Midwest in early March 2012. The storm killed Angel's mother, father, and two siblings, but spared the baby girl, who was found alive in a nearby field.
The infant shone as a beacon of hope until she was unable to sustain her injuries and passed away just days after the storm.
This gallery remembers tornado victims like Angel and her family and finds hope in the astonishing stories of survivors.
On Friday, March 2, 2012, Kendall Greene was close to finishing his school bus route when he made a sudden change of plans. The weather outside was getting worse, and Greene wasn't going to take it lightly. "Tornado weather, you can't do anything about it. It's going to do what it wants," Greene told ABC News.
Greene rushed all of the children riding his bus, including his daughter, into the basement of a nearby church. The tornado passed, and both Greene and his young passengers were unharmed.
But when the driver and chldren emerged from the church's basement, the bus was nowhere to be found.
(Photo: Scott Olson/Getty)
Constance Foster and the Mouth of Hell
Constance Foster, 45, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, had been hearing vague tornado warnings all day on April 27, 2011. But what she saw when she opened her front door was anything but vague. She watched in horror as a small vortex formed, and then felt consumed by a much larger one. "It expanded like a mouth of hell," she told NPR.
A red truck flew though the air as Constance scooped up her granddaughter Alaysia and dove into her closet. Constance cradled the child and gripped the closet door shut as their apartment collapsed, burying them under a mountain of brick and wood.
Fortunately for them, Constance and Alaysia had relatives close by who dug through the rubble and helped them to safety. But not everyone was so lucky. Almost a week later, some 340 people were still missing in Tuscaloosa alone.
(Photo: Madel Ngan/Getty)
Jason Jackson Sucked through Storm with Children
Jason Jackson opened his front door after arriving home from work in East Bernstadt, Kentucky, only to have it ripped out of his hand by a fast-approaching tornado. His kids were in the doorway, wide-eyed as their father lept on them to shield them from the storm.
Jason opened one eye and witnessed his house being ripped apart immediately before being sucked out of a hole in the wall. Just before blacking out, he promised his children that he wouldn't let go of them.
The next thing he remembers is his three-year-old son sitting on his chest, trying to wake him up. But Jason's six-year-old daughter was nowhere in sight. He rushed to his sister's house and melted with relief when his daughter was there to greet him.
Betty Elkins of East Bernstadt, Kentucky, tells WKYT 27 the story of how her brother's family survived the storm that hit in March 2012. "They hadn't been in there two minutes when the winds came, and they felt the trailer being picked up, and the last thing that they remember is being set down."
The trailer landed on a semi truck and split in half. Betty described the scene: "The bathtub was dangling over her and another niece was in there also, and my brother was somewhere up behind the tub."
Yet amazingly, the entire family survived.
(Photo: Photo Researchers/Getty)
Elderly Couple Survives Storm in Bathtub
An elderly couple in Harrisburg, Illinois dove into their bathtub as a tornado struck their home on March 1, 2012. The sister of the elderly woman, Linda Ayotte, described the close call: "She didn't get in the bathtub all the way when the house took off."
Fortunately, the couple's deaf neighbor "heard" them and rescued them from the aftermath. The couple survived, unharmed.
(Photo: Chicago Tribune/Getty)
In early March 2011, Stephanie Decker felt the tornado sucking her home into its vortex. She grabbed her children and dashed for the basement. She shielded them with her body as the home collapsed onto them, crushing Stephanie's legs.
Stephanie thought she was going to bleed out, but her eight-year-old son, Dominic, crawled out from under the wreckage and rushed to the neighbors for help.
Both of the heroic mother's legs had to be amputated—but her family survived.
In early March 2012, Dorothy Nelson and her daughter ran into their downstairs bathroom in Daisy Hill, Indiana, as a cell of powerful tornadoes was striking. The two women survived the twister and emerged from the basement only to find their home decimated.
Dorothy began to cry as she thought of her late handyman husband, who installed the basement bathroom because he thought it would be the sturdiest place in the house.