Sarah Radney saw trees falling down all around her grandparents’ home when Hurricane Michael roared over Georgia. She was safe until a carport came crashing through the roof.
Michael’s strong winds lifted a metal carport into the air before it crashed into a Seminole County, Georgia, house and hit the girl’s head, emergency officials said.
She had been in the living room sending her family photos of the trees that had fallen, her father, Roy Radney, recalled.
“It was just a freak accident, I never heard of anything like that,” he said.
Sarah’s grandmother, who was also in the living room, suffered a broken rib and punctured lung, but she survived. The family had to wait over eight hours for paramedics to arrive due to the terrible road conditions, Radney said.
The 11-year-old girl and at least five others have been killed since Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle Wednesday and slammed Georgia and the Carolinas through Thursday, officials said.
Sarah grew up about 45 minutes away in Cairo, Georgia, with her five siblings. She had just started the sixth grade and joined the drama club and the band. Her father says she loved playing the trumpet, acting and singing.
“I’ve worked most of my adult life out of town…I would always get videos of her singing and dancing while I was on the road,” he recalled.
It felt like Sarah loved life, and she would always make everyone smile, Radney said.
“She brightened my world. She was 11 years old and liked to play like she was 5.”
Sarah also enjoyed going to church and would often find a way to make it even when her parents could not take her. She would wake up extra early to call her aunt in order to catch a ride with her.
“She loved God, she was Christian. When the doors to the church were open she would want to be there,” Radney said.
CNN’s AnneClaire Stapleton contributed to this report.