Nightly News   |  May 21, 2013

Frantic search for survivors

The Oklahoma National Guard has joined local firefighters and the Red Cross to search for survivors in the wake of the devastating tornado. NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> back here in moore, oklahoma , let's spend a moment talking about the true first responders, the rescue teams, the national guard . remember, when they walk through areas like this, they're walking through home. their story tonight from nbc's gabe gutierrez.

>> reporter: on a soggy, miserable afternoon in oklahoma , the search for survivors hit home.

>> words can't describe everything we have seen right now.

>> reporter: this is the oklahoma national guard , more than 200 soldiers and airmen called to duty. around the clock frantic search after the massive twister.

>> as a father of two young elementary students, it hurts knowing that there are children lost.

>> reporter: sergeant mike bell is an army reservist. he grew up in this state and was part of the search and rescue team 14 years ago during another huge twister.

>> a thousand times worse. it's like a war zone .

>> reporter: the rescue and recovery effort is not limited to those in uniform. 15-year-old morgan smith rode out the storm in an underground shelter. when she emerged a neighbor was trapped in the debris across the street.

>> me and my mom ran across the street and came over here. and we dug her out of like where that red thing is, she was down right behind that.

>> reporter: rescuers have now scoured this neighborhood at least twice. on this pass all they find is empty homes. sergeant mike bell says he had to be here. this is personal. this is home.

>> as an oklahoman, it hurts.

>> reporter: its scape changed forever. gabe gutierrez, nbc news, moore, oklahoma .