A group of people a part of LifeScape, formally known as South Dakota Achieve, were in for a fun day at the Omaha Zoo. After leaving the zoo Tuesday afternoon to head back to Sioux Falls, they quickly found themselves in a dangerous storm.
"We were coming out of the Omaha Zoo and it started to rain hard and the hail started to hit our windows and started to scare us," Amy Stanford said.
Stanford, her fiancé Kendall Kermoade, his sister Shantel and her boyfriend Nathan Backhaus were on a trip they will never forget.
"We were looking up and we could tell the storm was going to come. We just knew that we couldn't do anything but try to live it out," Nathan said.
The group says they were with seven others in a 12 passenger van on the interstate near Missouri Valley, Iowa when the worst of the storm hit.
"They started to tell us to put our heads down and that's what we did," Stanford said.
Baseball-sized hail stones fell from the skies, hitting the van with force. It was enough to break windows.
"It broke the middle, the back, and the left side and the windshield was cracked," Kermoade said.
"When that window broke, that just scared me to death," Backhaus said.
Rain, hail and glass scattered throughout the van. The four were hit by large hail stone that left scrapes and bruises.
"I don't know, I was just really scared and screaming," Stanford said.
Nathan says, without thought, he shielded Shantel from the storm.
"It was my first instance. Put her head in my lap and curl over her to make sure she was safe," Backhaus said.
As the storm passed, the group was able to get to safety and eventually back to Sioux Falls. The scrapes and bruises may go away, but they say the memories will last a lifetime.
"It was fun at the zoo, but at the end, it wasn't," Stanford said.
The group only received minor injuries. After the storm they were taken to a nearby restaurant, the restaurant gave them free food, drinks, and let them stay warm and dry while they wanted for a new ride home.