Video: Tornado victim found alive in body bag recalls terrifying morgue ordeal

Gaby Leslie

A tornado victim pronounced dead but later found to be alive inside a body bag has told of how the thought of her ailing father brought her back from the brink.

Glynis Lawson spoke of her terrifying ordeal exactly a year after she was caught up in powerful tornadoes in southern US that killed 300 people.

She told of how the last thing she remembered was seeking shelter in her closet before a twister ripped her house apart in DeKalb County, Georgia.

Rescuers later found Ms Lawson’s battered body among the debris where her home once stood.

She was mistakenly pronounced dead at the scene and her body was delivered to the Dade Health and Rehabilitation Center in Trenton, Georgia, where one of the rooms had been set up as a temporary morgue.

Ms Lawson's critically ill father was a long-term patient at the rehab centre at the time.

He was hiding in a safe room while she was placed in the makeshift morgue.

Nurse supervisor Dana Culpepper was working in the morgue when - amid all the chaos - she heard a muffled moaning coming from one of the body bags.

On unzipping the bag, nurses were stunned to find a living, breathing Ms Lawson.

Quick-thinking nurses spun into action – putting her on an IV drip and stopping the flow of blood.

Fighting back tears, Mrs Culpepper said: “I wasn’t even going to look, then I heard her moan again. When we undid the body bag, we saw that she was alive… I don’t know how she was living.”

Ms Lawson suffered severe injuries – including a broken hip, a hole in her back and a dislocated shoulder – but in a video interview a year on said she was just happy to be alive. 

She said of her miracle escape: “I guess that was God’s way of keeping me here to make sure Daddy was OK.”

Ms Lawson savoured the chance to spend six more months spending time with her beloved father before he died in December of last year.