‘Like a freight train’: Family of man hurt in Garden City tornado describes terrifying moments

Family reflects on tornado damage left by Isaias

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – One family staying in Garden City said the night that Isaias blew through the Grand Strand was the scariest moment of their lives.

The National Weather Service confirmed an EF0 tornado touched down in Garden City during the storm, and Richard Maltba and his family were at the center of it all.

“It went from rest and relaxation Sunday to traumatizing Monday evening,” Richard Maltba said.

Maltba and his family came from Charlotte to Garden City for a much needed family vacation. They said they went back and forth about if they should weather the storm.

“I really didn’t think it would impact us like this and we really had considered, do we go or do we not go. But everybody has been through something this year and we just wanted to get away as a family and rest and relax and try to have a family vacation,” he said.

He said Monday they saw the storm surge sweep up underneath the house they were staying in. He said they were thankful the house was on stilts. But it turned out that the storm surge was the least of their worries.

“It got like a calm right there for a minute, like a real nice peace,” Maltba said.

But then tornado warnings came on TV.

“Then all of a sudden man, it was like a freight train with the window blowing out of the house, just shaking the house back and forth,” Maltba said.

He said after that they didn’t have much time to react.

“Once the window got blown out, the force of the wind had came through and shattered the front door and had knocked my father-in-law down about 12 steps. And all we heard was loud, some of the loudest bangs in our life,” Maltba said. ”We seen that he was at the bottom of the steps, helpless, couldn’t move, we didn’t know if he was dead or alive.”

He said it all happened so fast.

“Lasted maybe a minute tops, but it was one of the worst events of our life,” Maltba said.

Maltba said his father-in-law was taken to the hospital where he will have to stay until at least Tuesday.

“But my father-in-law is alive, and we’re still gonna have a different vacation another time,” Maltba said.

But for now, he said he just needs one thing.

“Just continue to pray for him, guys out there that do pray,” Maltba requested.

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