Miriam Rios: 7-yr-old Texas girl miraculously survives tornado after getting launched into tree

As a result of the tornado, packing 165-mph winds, the little girl ended up on a cedar, found unconscious and hanging upside down


                            Miriam Rios: 7-yr-old Texas girl miraculously survives tornado after getting launched into tree
As many as 23 people, including members of Miriam Rios' family, were injured by the category EF-3 tornado (GoFundMe/KWTX)
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A Texas girl miraculously survived a tornado after it launched her into a tree. As a result of the twister, packing 165-mph winds, the little girl ended up on a cedar, found unconscious and hanging upside down. The kid survived and is now recovering from her injuries. The tornado left a 13-mile path of destruction through Central Texas.

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Rios was celebrating her 7th birthday in her hospital bed on Saturday, April 16. “Everyone is doing OK!” her aunt, Naomi Benavides, told New York Post. The tornado tossed Rios' family in different direction. Her father, Joel Rios, mother, Vanessa, and 1-year-old brother, Ezra, were also hospitalized after the storm swept through Cedar Valley, near the tiny town of Salado. The mobile home belonging to the family was flattened as a result of the monster twister.

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As many as 23 people, including members of Rios' family, were injured by the category EF-3 tornado. There were reportedly no casualties. Vanessa’s brother, Stephen Perez, told KFVS that although the family had begun to drive away from the storm, they had to turn back when hail began to fall. 

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“She was picking up…holding onto her babies as much as she could,” Benavidez said of her sister. “The little girl — she had to hold onto her by her hair. They ended up getting lifted up from the trailer and just thrown into the trees.” As many as 61 homes and two churches were destroyed as a result of the storm. 

Joel Rios was first spotted by Rodeo worker Blake Miller as he was driving through the destruction following the tornado. Joel was found trapped under tree limbs, waving to passersby to get attention. “He used every last bit of his energy and strength that he had to just try to get help for his family,” Miller said. “That man was in pieces and he was still fighting for his family.” As Miller pulled over, Joel gestured towards Rios, hanging upside down from the cedar with a gash on her head. He then found Vanessa, and without describing the condition she was found in, Miller said, "That was a very disturbing sight to see."

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Miller heard a noise a few moments later and found little Ezra, 1, stuck in warped tree limbs that formed a dome around him. The baby, however, only suffered cuts and bruises. “I mean, I had to dig, probably three-feet into these trees and limbs that were everywhere,” Miller said. “The little baby was underneath all of it. Underneath the whole pile.” Emergency workers arrived about half an hour later.

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Perez has set up a GoFundMe to help rebuild the family. "Hello everyone my name is Stephen today I am raising money to support my sister and her family through a tornado catastrophe. I would really appreciate the help of others to help rebuild their home after a tornado wiped away everything they have down to the foundation. And with the family being in the home while the tornado taking away everything they’ve worked so desperately hard for; they manage to hang on to each other," the page reads. "The family at this time has severely been injured in the process of the storm along with her husband Joel and two children their daughter Mariam and one year old baby boy Ezra. We hope and wish them great health and a speedy recovery."

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"Are goal is to raise 80,000 dollars to help rebuild their home and put them back on there feet. And to give them the hope and motivation to keep on fighting. The Rios family not only thanks you for your donations but your concern and valuable time. Thank you!" the page adds. At the time this article was written, $83,842 USD had been raised for the $80,000 goal.

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