CAPE CHARLES (AP) - Family is mourning the loss of a couple who died when a tornado swept through a campground on the Eastern Shore Thursday morning.
The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for the area around Cherrystone Family Camping and RV Resort about the time it struck - around 8:30 a.m.
A tree fell on a tent shared by Lord Balatbat and Lolabeth Ortega, a married couple from Jersey City, New Jersey, killing them. Their 13-year-old son was in a neighboring tent and was severely injured. He's being treated at CHKD in Norfolk.
Lord Balatbat's father, Luis Balatbat, 78, told told The Jersey Journal that all three of the couple's children are hospitalized. He said his grandson is in a coma, his 12-year-old granddaughter suffered a leg and ear injury, and his 7-year-old granddaughter was struck in the stomach by a tree limb.
"I'm struggling," the grandfather said. "I wanted to go there, but my doctor said do not go there because I am not well enough to travel. My wife is the same way."
Luis Balatbat Jr., 47, told the paper that his family was shocked to learn of the death of his brother and sister-in-law.
"We are a close family, and this is very bad for us," he said.
The couple had been married 14 years and both were born in the Philippines, the newspaper reported.
Lord Balatbat worked in management at a Walgreens on John F. Kennedy Blvd in Jersey City.
Store officials released this statement: “We are heartbroken over the sudden tragic loss of Lord Balatbat and his wife Lolibeth Ortega. His store team and all of us in the company have them in our thoughts and prayers, and we are sure the same is true of the many friends and customers who knew him at his store in Jersey City. We are all also thinking of their son and pray for his full recovery.”
State Police said the teen was one of 36 people hurt in the storm.
Many people staying at the 300-acre playground of swimming pools, mini-golf, pier fishing, crabbing and other activities said they had only a few minutes of warning..
"All hell broke loose," said Joe Colony, a Stephensville, Maryland, resident who has been coming to the campground for 30 years. "We got an emergency message on a cellphone and within 30 seconds, the thing hit and it blew down 40, 50 trees in the park."
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