TODAY   |  May 21, 2013

Aerial view of Okla. tornado’s path of destruction

TODAY’s Natalie Morales reports from a helicopter on the destruction left behind by a tornado that hit Moore, Okla., looking down on the rubble that used to be an elementary school.

Share This:

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

>> natalie morales is up in a cape force chopper here in moore , oklahoma, she's got a look from above. nathalie? natalie?

>> good morning, matt. we're here in the kfor chopper right now, right above moore city, and i can tell you what i'm seeing is absolutely heartbreaking, as we look down overhead. now this right here is the plaza tower school where of course you know as you heard the tragedy that has unfolded there, and as we learned a class of about a couple 20 or so children were trapped inside there. now a recovery operation under way and you can just see the complete and utter destruction, what was once a solid cinder block school is completely demolished, bits and pieces of debris, we can't even make out what that building is. i should tell you our pilot with me, john welsh , he tracked the storm, was up in the air all day, all afternoon yesterday when the tornado struck and john, describe for me the scene that unfolded there right at the school and i know you live in this area, your home is in moore , and how heartbreaking it was for you to cover this.

>> it was definitely heartbreaking. we followed the storm as it picked up from new castle through moore . i'm fairly familiar with the community and we're coming back and i was trying to do damage assessment, started talking about the neighborhoods, damage it was at and we came to the school and in my voice you could hear i was getting broken up, just some raw emotion that you try and fight back just so you're here to do a job. i wanted to keep doing that.

>> right.

>> my kids go not to this school but to these schools so it's heartbreaking for these people and it's heartbreaking for everybody here, especially when it's little kids, innocent, little kids.

>> you saw the recovery operation that was ongoing there yesterday. we're not seeing a lot of people there right now, first responders or the like right now. hard to tell what is still going on there in that situation but as you can see, that was once a solid school. it was used as the emergency shelter , and those children were taken there thinking it was the safest place that they could be and you see now what is left of it, just completely utter destruction and just so heartbreaking to see that here from