(NBC) Two girls clung to each other for survival early Sunday as a tornado ripped apart a Tulsa fast food restaurant, destroying the building around them.

Sydney Verner and Kaitlyn Gardner, both 18, said they went to the Whataburger near 41st Street and I-44 after leaving another friend’s house. They said it started to storm outside around the time they finished their food, then a tornado struck without much notice.

“The doors flew open. The lights flickered,” Verner said. “We were mid-air to get on the ground, and the glass just shattered.”

Verner said she grabbed onto the leg of a table, but she started sliding across the floor. That’s when Gardner jumped on her friend’s back.

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“I think that’s why my body is so sore because I was literally holding onto not anything but her and holding her down on the ground,” Gardner said.

She said she did what anyone else would do to protect a friend, but Verner cannot hide her emotions thinking about how selfless her friend was.

“You’re putting yourself at 10 times more danger jumping on somebody,” Verner said, wiping away tears. “She really was my hero. She was my guardian angel.”

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