Officials had said previously she was killed on Oct. 10 in Seminole County after the high winds picked up a mobile carport and slammed it through the roof of her house. Family members said Thursday that she was struck in the face, couldn’t breathe, and quickly fell unconscious.
The house was Sarah Radney’s grandparents; just before she was hit, Radney was snapping pictures of the trees falling around the home and sending them to her family, her father said.
“It was just a freak accident, I never heard of anything like that,” Roy Radney told CNN.
Sarah’s grandmother, who was with her in the living room, suffered a broken rib and punctured lung but ultimately survived.
Emergency officials struggled to reach the family due to severe damage in the area from Hurricane Michael. Over eight hours after the accident, they finally arrived. By then, Sarah had died.
Five Other Children
No other deaths have been reported in Georgia as of yet, although the hurricane caused widespread destruction and killed others across Florida.
“It’s rough, I’ve never lost a kid,” Roy Radney told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“One minute I’m OK, and the next minute I’m falling apart. And I’ve got five [other] kids to coach through this. I don’t know what I’m doing.” Sarah’s 12-year-old brother was also at the Seminole County home.
Roy Radney was in Thomasville with the rest of his family and wanted to rush to Sarah but was stopped by relatives.
“It’s just so hard being a father two counties away while your child is dying,” he said, adding that he does not blame rescuers for being unable to reach his daughter for hours.
“When people get these damn warnings, they need to listen. If you stay, that’s what they really mean: No one is coming,” he said.
Sarah’s parents remembered her as a joyful girl who loved to perform, playing the trumpet in the school band and participating in plays.
“She was so beautiful and she smiled so much that day,” mother Amber Radney told The Associated Press, “She lit up everything.”
She loved to spend time with family, her father added.
“We couldn’t ever get her to spend the night nowhere because she always wanted to be home with her family,” Roy Radney said. “She was 11 years old, but she liked to have fun like a 5-year-old.”