Nightly News   |  June 01, 2013

Storm chasers’ close encounter with tornado

When one of the destructive tornadoes took an unexpected turn Friday, Weather Channel meteorologist Mike Bettes and his crew had no time to get out of harm's way. Suddenly, the tornado they were chasing, was chasing them.

Share This:

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

>> bettis and his crew were on the hunt. they had no time to get out of harm's way. suddenly, the tornado they were chasing was chasing them. we're happy to say they all survived the experience. tonight, they describe the harrowing moment in their own words.

>> guys, that's it. there's the tornado.

>> south of el reno , three vehicle convoy, we had done a live shot. we need ed to go south to get in front of the r storm.

>> mike bettis and the team are in that arm.

>> this was a really dangerous storm because it was small. then it was large, then it had a lot of different vortices within it and it did a very strange thing where it made a very abrupt left hand turn. we were trying to get on the south side to get into clear air.

>> and you could see just this huge wall coming right toward us.

>> i was in the lead vehicle. and the tornado just came up and i ended off being blown into a ditch. and the last thing that i remember seeing the bettis mobile pass me and go airborne.

>> everybody, go, go, go, just --

>> we realized we weren't going to make it and just screamed for everybody to just hold on, duck down below the windows and hold on and we just started tumbling.

>> everybody duck down. everybody duck down.

>> there was a moment there where it was weightlessness. we were floating.

>> there was like a silent couple of seconds there and then i just braced and then we hit hard. we tumbled a couple of more times and we stopped. wheels down. right side up.

>> the wind was so heavy, i figured it would pick the car back up and we would be dead.

>> we all came bailing out, jk picked up the radio and said role call, kp said here and we didn't hear from the others. that's about the time we spotted them. we ran out to the field.

>> i think if there's a lesson to be learneded, safety. too close a call for me has heightened my sensitivity now. i feel very guilty if something traumatic happened to our crew, it's on me.

>> mike bettis and one crew member were treated and released with minor injuries. another crew member remains in the hospital. we are grateful our colleagues survived that very, very close