A camera inside the gymnasium at Union Intermediate School in Sampson County captured the moment the roof collapsed Monday, forcing students to run to safety.
The video, released Tuesday by Sampson County Schools, shows students playing before running away as the roof falls in, crumpling a stage and taking down part of a wall.
Chloe Brewer, a fifth-grader, is one of the 21 students who were in the gym at the time. She and two other students were injured when the roof and wall came down.
“It was our PE day,” Chloe said. “We were playing basketball, and it just sounded like something exploded in there...I just turned around and was looking at the stage, and it just collapsed,” she said. “And then we started running, and something hit me from behind, and I fell down. And then the glass started breaking.”
The National Weather Service confirmed a microburst was over the school around 2 p.m. when the roof collapsed, with winds at 85 mph.
A microburst, or a downburst, is a strong surge of air that spreads in all directions upon hitting the ground.