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Frantic search for survivors in tornado-hit Oklahoma


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Frantic search for survivors in tornado-hit Oklahoma

Emergency workers are searching for survivors in the US town of Moore, Oklahoma State, after a deadly tornado hit on May 20.

Officials confirmed that 24 bodies, including several children, had so far been recovered from the wreckage in the devastated town.

Earlier reports on the death toll were higher, but officials said that in the chaos some bodies may have been counted twice.

Plaza Towers Elementary School was reduced to ruins.

Oklahoma State Trooper Betsy Randolph explained how the rescue efforts began: “They started searching for people immediately, like at the school, more specifically. We went over there because it was such a confined area and such devastation.”

“We had to be careful as we stood on debris, that we weren’t standing on people buried underneath,” Randolph continued.

The three kilometre-wide tornado in Moore ranks among the most severe in recent US history. Authorities issued a warning to the town 16 minutes before it hit.

  • American flag

    An American flag lies on top of an overturned car after a tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma. A 3-km-wide tornado tore through the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore on Monday, killing at least 91 people while destroying entire tracts of homes, piling cars atop one another, and trapping two dozen school children beneath rubble. REUTERS/Gene Blevins

  • Children with dog

    Abby Madi (L) and Peterson Zatterlee comforts Zaterlee's dog Rippy, after a tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma. A 3-km-wide tornado tore through the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore on Monday, killing at least 91 people while destroying entire tracts of homes, piling cars atop one another, and trapping two dozen school children beneath rubble. REUTERS/Gene Blevins

  • Destroyed cars

    Destroyed cars are seen along Interstate 35 after a tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma. A 3-km-wide tornado tore through the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore on Monday, killing at least 91 people while destroying entire tracts of homes, piling cars atop one another, and trapping two dozen school children beneath rubble. REUTERS/Gene Blevins

  • Gas pumps missing

    Gas pumps islands are seen without pumps after a tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma. A 3-km-wide tornado tore through the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore on Monday, killing at least 91 people while destroying entire tracts of homes, piling cars atop one another, and trapping two dozen school children beneath rubble. REUTERS/Gene Blevins

  • Two girls

    Two girls stand in rubble after a tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma. A 3-km-wide tornado tore through the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore on Monday, killing at least 91 people while destroying entire tracts of homes, piling cars atop one another, and trapping two dozen school children beneath rubble. REUTERS/Gene Blevins

USA’s deadliest tornadoes

Where:“Tri-State” (Missouri, Illinois and Indiana)

When: March 18, 1925

Casualties: 695

Where: Natchez, Mississippi

When: May 7, 1840

Casualties: 317

Where: St. Louis, Missouri and East St. Louis, Illinois

When: May 27, 1896

Casualties: 255

Where: Tupelo, Mississippi

When: April 5, 1936

Casualties: 216

Where: Gainesville, Georgia

When: April 5, 1936

Casualties: 203

Where: Woodward, Oklahoma

When: April 9, 1947

Casualties: 181

Where: Joplin, Missouri

When: May 22, 2011

Casualties: 158

Where: Amite, Louisiana and Purvis, Mississippi

When: April 24, 1908

Casualties: 143

Where: New Richmond, Wisconsin

When: June 12, 1899

Casualties: 117

Where: Flint, Michigan

When: June 8, 1953

Casualties: 116

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