Survival Story: Family Rides Out Deadly Tornado in Tanning Bed

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The deadly wave of tornadoes that has ripped through the south over the last 24 hours has claimed more than 250 lives.

But the survivors of the storm are still holding strong. And now, they are beginning to tell their stories of courage amid catastrophe.

(More on TIME.com: Photos from the disaster zone)

Lisa Rice of Trenton, Ga., and her two daughters, Stormy and Sky, are among those who escaped a terrible fate. The family survived by hiding in a tanning bed. Rice, who opened S&L Tans less than a month ago, has ridden out tornadoes before, so she knew she needed a plan for when the storm turned scary.

(More on TIME.com: The science behind the storms)

“We were watching it through the window and started seeing stuff flying around,” Rice told WRCB-TV3, the NBC station in Chattanooga, Tenn. “We had already made plans that if something happened, we were gonna get in the tanning bed.”

And that’s what they did. The three took cover in one tanning bed, pulled down the lid and prayed. The family stayed there until the wind subsided. They said they are thankful for their lives.

(More on TIME.com: Tornado viral videos)

“The whole time we were in there, we were just praising God,” Rice said. “Just, ‘Hold us and keep us tight.’ And we’re alive. There’s a lot of people that’s lost their homes here. We can rebuild if we want to or relocate, but there’s a lot of people that lost their homes and their lives.”(via WRCB-TV)

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