Jonesboro Municipal Airport hit hard during EF3 tornado

Jonesboro Municipal Airport hit hard during EF3 tornado

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - The Jonesboro Municipal Airport took on some of the most severe devastation during the March 28, 2020 tornado.

Sterling Saul with the EE Flight Group had just put fuel in an airplane when things took a turn for the worst.
Sterling Saul with the EE Flight Group had just put fuel in an airplane when things took a turn for the worst. (Source: KAIT)

Sterling Saul with the EE Flight Group had just put fuel in an airplane, when things took a turn for the worst.

“I saw this very big dark cloud,” said Saul. “The wind had shifted directions and it started coming straight towards us.”

Sterling and others immediately ran inside.

“You hear a little bit of screaming, I heard a little bit of crying, I just dove to the ground,” said Saul. “There are some metal poles on the railings, I just wedged myself up in there, so hopefully, if the wind was coming through, it wouldn’t rip me out of those poles.”

He said it only lasted for about 10 to 15 seconds.
He said it only lasted for about 10 to 15 seconds. (Source: KAIT)

He said it only lasted for about 10-15 seconds.

“Close your eyes, close your eyes, hold your breath,” said Saul. “Dirt is just flying past you, I had all kinds of dirt and stuff in my mouth and my nose when I got home.”

But, what was even more shocking was what he saw when he came out.

“Planes were just thrown across the field from where they were originally sitting,” said Saul.

Bill Campbell, the Director of Communications for the City of Jonesboro, said the city is now taking inventory of the airport.

“There’s some damage out there that it’s too soon to project what’s going to happen next,” said Campbell.

Now, all planes will go to Paragould and Walnut Ridge.
Now, all planes will go to Paragould and Walnut Ridge. (Source: KAIT)

Now, all planes will go to Paragould and Walnut Ridge.

“We’re just devastated,” said Campbell. “The airport is devastated. I don’t think you’ll see planes flying in there for a while.”

But, that doesn’t mean there isn’t hope.

“I really believe the airport is going to come back better than ever,” said Saul.

Campbell said they don’t know the total damage just yet, but there are only one and a half hangars still intact.

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