Austin storm chaser seriously injured in Oklahoma tornado

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by HEATHER KOVAR

KVUE

Posted on June 3, 2013 at 10:18 AM

Updated Monday, Jun 3 at 6:03 PM

AUSTIN, Texas -- Storm chaser and Austin resident Austin Anderson, was in an Oklahoma hospital Sunday awaiting surgery for some serious injuries after being caught in Friday's tornado outbreak.

He has a broken neck, three broken vertebrae, a black eye, collapsed lungs and broken ribs. Anderson is scheduled for back surgery in Oklahoma City on Tuesday.

Anderson was in the Tornado Hunt truck with Mike Bettis and another photographer from the Weather Channel. The tornado they were chasing in El Reno suddenly changed direction and they didn't have time to escape.

Their vehicle was lifted about 30 feet in the air and it rolled eight or nine times.

All three men were wearing seat belts and their air bags deployed.

Anderson was the most seriously injured.

"I always keep a positive attitude," he said. "Even when I was flying through the air, I was thinking: 'What do I need to do to survive?' instead of, 'Oh no! I'm going to die!'"

Anderson remained immobilized in his hospital bed on Sunday.

Anderson worked as a news photographer for a Houston TV station before leaving to become a freelancer.

Three other storm chasers were killed by the same tornado Friday.

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