Terror, Panic & Redemption in Six Minutes

Hunkered down in a Joplin convenience store when all Hell broke loose

Most of the nearly 800,000 people who had “watched” his video on YouTube by Monday afternoon, know him only as “izelsg.” But in the space of less than six minutes on Sunday night, he managed to capture nearly the full range of human response to crisis.

The tornado that swept through Joplin, MO Sunday, claimed at least 116 lives. (Photo: Julie Denesha/Getty Images)

Izelsg, who, according to his YouTube profile, is a 23-year-old college student, was among 12 – 20 people huddled together in a gas station convenience store, when the Joplin tornado bore down and engulfed the building.

Though shot as video, there is little we can see. By this time, the power had gone out and the store’s occupants were huddled in darkness. The minutes that follow are made more compelling by the dearth of images. Only the occasional flashlight beam or lightning strike punctuate the sound of desperation and survival. Continue reading