2 Dead, 36 Injured As Tornado Touches Down On Northampton Campgr - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

2 Dead, 36 Injured As Tornado Touches Down On Northampton Campground

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CHERITON, Va. - A devastating EF-1 tornado leaves two people dead, injuring dozens more during its destructive path in a Northampton County campground.

Virginia State Police confirms a married couple from New Jersey died after a tree hit their tent at the Cherrystone Campground.

VSP says state and local first responders will remain on scene at the campground overnight as clean up continues.

According to VSP, the first 911 call came in at 8:31 a.m. to the Northampton County Sheriff's Office.

A husband and wife from Jersey City, N.J., were in a tent when a tree fell on it, says VSP. Both died at the scene. They have been identified as Lord N. Balatbat, 38, and, Lolibeth E. Ortega, 38, both of Jersey City, N.J.

Their 13-year-old son was in a neighboring tent and also struck by the fallen tree. The son was among the 36 total injured. He was transported from the campground as a result of the tornado.

Photos sent by viewers to 47 ABC paint the picture of this deadly storm.  Some witnesses were stationed at the SunTrust Bank in Cheriton waiting for clearance to be let back into the campground to collect their belongings. They described the scene full of overturned RVs, downed trees and golf ball-sized hail.

Akya Church, 24, was at the site during the peak of the intense winds.

"It really was sad," said Church. "A lot campers damaged. It was incredibly awful."

A family of campers from Maryland showed us hail damage to the hood of their truck. They declined to speak on camera but described what they went through.

"We got a warning around 8:30 AM on our phones, and five minutes later it was crazy," said the family. "Hail, wind. There were bloody people in the bathhouse [who evacuated from their campers]."

Beyond the campground, in Cheriton, priority number one for many was protect children.  

"We had to move the kids into evacuation to put everybody in safe place and don't let the kids see what happened," said Luz Mari Martinez.

Jessica Robberecht works at Fifer Riding Stables in Cape Charles. For her, protecting family means protecting horses, too.

"I looked out the door and I saw a funnel cloud starting to form," said Robberecht. "I told [the owner] 'look you need to shut the door, you need to get in the basement.'  We ended up just making it to the steps. By the time we made it to the steps, [the tornado was gone]."

Robberecht says they were lucky: one stall is gone and only one horse suffered minor injuries.

"At that time I was just asking God to please protect the horses. Protect us. Luckily, he did," said Robberecht.

A total of 21 people were transported to Riverside Hospital for treatment, with a majority of them already released. One individual was transported to Norfolk Sentara. Another was flown to VCU Medical Center in Richmond.

Three, including the 13-year-old boy, were transported to Children's Hospital of the Kings Daughters in Norfolk.

VSP says the injuries range from minor cuts and bruises to life-threatening.

According to the Cherrystone Campground register, there were 1,328 adults and children and an additional 44 staff members at the campground at the time of the tornado. All campers and staff have been accounted for.

We're told that American Red Cross is assisting displaced campers.

Reports say that the tornado came in from the Chesapeake Bay and entered the campground from the southwest shore. The tornado moved northwest through the campground and then turned south and continued southeast through the remainder of the campground.

Campers continue to await entry into the campground but VSP says nobody will be allowed back inside overnight.

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