Alabama storm victim to spend first Mother's Day in shelter
Leicia Fairchild and her son, Christian, survived last week's devastating storms in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
May 7th, 2011
09:07 PM ET

Alabama storm victim to spend first Mother's Day in shelter

Leicia Fairchild had only one thing on her mind as a tornado ripped apart her home in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, last week.

"My son, my son, I got to get to my son," Fairchild recalls.

Fairchild was relieved to find her 8-week-old son, Christian, unharmed in her mother's home down the hill. But her elation has turned into despair as she gets ready to spend her first Mother's Day in a shelter with more than 200 others displaced by last week's devastating storms.

"I pictured Mother's Day at home with his father, and happy and everything, and it's far from happy. I’m in a shelter with my son," she said.

The American Red Cross set up the shelter just a few miles outside Tuscaloosa, where a massive tornado cut a 5.9-mile-long path of destruction last week. More than 5,700 structures were damaged and destroyed, affecting an estimated 13,700 people, a mayoral spokeswoman said. The city has held off on releasing an official count of the dead, but CNN last reported the death toll at 50.

Ground zero in Tuscaloosa: Horror and hope, tears and prayers

Fairchild was sitting at home with the father of her baby when she heard a loud noise and looked out the window and saw a tornado heading for her house.

"We ran and just dove under the sink and the whole house lifted up and started to go with the wind, and we were just praying to God the whole time and all I could think about was my baby,” Fairchild said Saturday as she sat in the shelter's cafeteria.

Before the storm had ended, she was running down the hill to see if her mother's home was still there.

"They pulled nails out of my feet where I had to run through my house. We had to climb over a huge tree that landed on our house that was blocking the door, and I had to climb over that tree. I was determined to get to my son."

The child was unharmed. Fairchild's mother and the boy's father also survived, but their homes were destroyed.

Fairchild hopes to leave the shelter soon and move into an apartment. Her first Mother's Day wasn’t supposed to be like this.

"He's a blessing. I get to tell him he lived through a tornado at 8 weeks old."

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Filed under: Alabama • Tornadoes • Weather
May 7th, 2011
07:32 PM ET

iPad-controlled drone captures Tuscaloosa storm damage

In the week since a series of powerful storms and tornadoes devastated Tuscaloosa, Alabama, most of the images we've seen have been taken at ground level.

But CNN's Aaron Brodie caught a bird's-eye view using the Parrot AR.Drone, a quadricopter that can be controlled using an iPad or an iPhone. He said he got the idea to experiment with the relatively new technology about a year ago, and finally got the chance to test it out Friday above the ruins of Alberta, a neighborhood in Tuscaloosa.

"It's a bit challenging to fly, but when you get the hang of it you can get some nice aerial footage out of it," Brodie says.

The electronic aircraft retails for about $300 and comes equipped with two cameras, one facing forward and one facing down. Not satisfied with the quality of the video for broadcast purposes, Brodie rigged a GoPro HD camera to the drone, bringing the total cost of the outfit to about $550.

"This is really at the low end of what's possible," he says. "There's much more sophisticated drone technology out there that is now available to really anybody, including us in the news media, and I think this is going to continue to provide a whole new perspective on things."

More than 175 tornadoes hit the South and the Midwest April 27 to 28, weather officials said. The twisters caused at least 327 deaths, 249 of which were in Alabama. In Tuscaloosa, a massive tornado cut a 5.9-mile path of destruction, damaging or destroying more than 5,700 structures and affecting an estimated 13,700 people who lived and worked there, a spokeswoman said.

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Filed under: Alabama • Technology • Tornadoes • Weather
Detroit Tigers' Verlander pitches no-hitter
May 7th, 2011
06:45 PM ET

Detroit Tigers' Verlander pitches no-hitter

Justin Verlander pitched his second career no-hitter Saturday in the Detroit Tigers’ 9-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

The 28-year-old right-hander struck out four, and came within one baserunner of a perfect game when he walked a batter in the eighth inning. With the feat, Verlander becomes only the 28th pitcher ever to throw two or more career no-hitters, according to the Baseball Almanac. His first came June 12, 2007, against the Milwaukee Brewers.

It was the second no-hitter in the major leagues this season - both of them occurring the same week: Francisco Liriano of the Minnesota Twins no-hit the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday.

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Filed under: Baseball • Sports
Animal Kingdom wins Kentucky Derby
May 7th, 2011
06:35 PM ET

Animal Kingdom wins Kentucky Derby

Animal Kingdom, with John Velazquez aboard, has emerged from the pack down the stretch to win the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby. It is Valzquez' first Kentucky Derby victory.

Animal Kingdom came in with 20-1 odds. Nehro finished second; Mucho Macho Man came in third.

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Filed under: Sports
May 7th, 2011
03:30 PM ET

Candid videos emerge of Osama bin Laden

Intelligence officials on Saturday unveiled five different videos of Osama bin Laden that were confiscated from the raid by U.S. forces at his Pakistan compound, which left the al Qaeda leader and four others dead.

One video looks suggests how conscious bin Laden was of his image. Sporting a white-gray beard, a dark wool cap and a blanket draped around his shoulders, he is seen sitting in front of a small television, flipping through a selection of satellite channels as he intently views video footage of himself.

Another video is a message to the United States officials believe was recorded in October or November. In that video, bin Laden's beard has been dyed black and he was well-composed as he delivered his message. The three other videos are practice sessions for videos he was planning to release to the world.

Bin Laden watches video of himself

Pentagon releases bin Laden video

Videos provide clues into psyche of the world's most wanted terrorist

The intelligence official said audio was removed from the videos because it would be "inappropriate to spread the words of terrorists and propaganda messages, especially Osama bin Laden." Otherwise, the videos were not altered, according to the official.

Officials say the new videos collected from the site in Abbottabad are a small slice of the haul considered to be the most significant amount of intelligence ever collected from a senior terrorist. The official also said the DNA evidence unquestionably shows that the person shot and killed in the Pakistan compound was bin Laden.

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Filed under: Osama bin Laden