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Entries in Death Toll (9)

Thursday
Mar012012

At Least a Dozen Confirmed Dead in Midwest Tornado Aftermath

Scott Olson/Getty Images(HARRISBURG, Ill.) -- At least 12 people are dead after a series of tornadoes blew through the Midwest earlier this week, according to authorities, and the death toll is expected to rise.

The extensive damage caused by the storms in at least five states is only beginning to become clear.  The tornadoes touched down across Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky and Illinois Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center said.

At least six people -- four women and two men -- were killed in the town of Harrisburg, Ill., according to Lt. Tracy Felty of the Saline County Sheriff's Office.  The tornado hit Harrisburg, 50 miles southwest of Evansville, Ind., around 5 a.m., leveling a wide swath of homes and other buildings.

The National Weather Service said the twister was about 200 yards wide and ranked as an EF4 -- the second-highest rating given to twisters -- with peak winds of 170 mph.

During a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Harrisburg Mayor Eric Gregg said that the city was in "search and recovery mode."

"We have devastation in our community like we've never seen," he said.  "We are doing everything we can to protect this community. ... That is our mission.  That is our task now."

Sheriffs' officials earlier estimated the number of people killed in the 9,000-resident town to be as high as 10, but later said that number was incorrect.  An estimated 100 people were injured in the storm, officials said.

The physical damage in Harrisburg was said to be extensive, with power lines down and as many as 300 homes and 25 businesses damaged or destroyed, according to officials at the sheriff's office.

Schools in Harrisburg were canceled and officials asked non-residents to stay away, according to local ABC News affiliate WSIL-TV.

Another confirmed death came in Missouri, where the entertainment destination of Branson, Mo., was hit hard by the storms.

Local ABC News affiliate KMB-TV reported windows were blown out of the Hilton Convention Center in Branson and 32 people were treated for injuries in at least one local hospital.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon issued a state of emergency order Wednesday morning and shelters for displaced residents were opened throughout the state.

The small town of Harveyville in Kansas was also hit hard by a tornado that touched down just after 9 p.m. local time Tuesday.

"The town was taken out by about 40 percent of the buildings in the community," Sharon Watson, director of public affairs for the Kansas Adjutant General's Office told ABC News.  "A significant amount of it has been destroyed.  A lot of homes damaged, a lot of buildings down including a church and an apartment complex."

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback also declared a state of emergency after the storm hit and caused highway closings and downed power lines throughout the area.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb292012

Death Toll Grows in Midwest Tornado Aftermath

Whitney Curtis/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The death toll left by 15 tornadoes that blew through the Midwest overnight stands at at least nine, according to authorities, and that number is expected to rise.

The extensive damage caused by the storms in at least five states is only beginning to become clear. Meanwhile, more tornado watches are in effect in Kentucky and Tennessee, according to the National Weather Service.

The tornadoes touched down across Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri and Nebraska on Tuesday night, the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb282012

Ohio School Shooting Death Toll Rises to Three

David Dermer/Getty Images(CHARDON, Ohio) -- The toll in the Chardon High School shooting grew Tuesday with the death of a third shooting victim.

Russell King and Demetrius Hewlin, students wounded in Monday's shooting, died Tuesday morning, officials said.

"We are very saddened by the loss of our son and others in our Chardon community," Hewlin's family said in a statement. "Demetrius was a happy young man who loved life and his family and friends. We will miss him very much but we are proud that he will be able to help others through organ donation."

They added, "We ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time." 

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Earlier, King, 17, was pronounced brain dead at 12:42 a.m. at Ohio's MetroHealth Medical Center, according to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office. At 4:49 a.m., police were informed that King had "passed."

Another victim, identified by MetroHealth Hospital as Daniel Parmertor died from the wounds on Monday, hours after being shot.

As the Ohio town coped with the losses, the focus turned to alleged shooter T.J. Lane who a fellow student and witness identified as the person who shot up his school cafeteria Monday. Two other students remain hospitalized.

Lane, a juvenile, was expected to appear in court Tuesday afternoon.

Lane allegedly opened fire with a handgun just before 8 a.m. in the school cafeteria where students were eating breakfast, authorities and witnesses said.

The shooter was chased out of the building by a teacher and was arrested half a mile away near his car.

The suspect is in custody at Geauga County Safety Center.

Chardon is a village in Geauga County about 35 miles east of Cleveland.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep212011

11th Person Dies from Reno Air Show Plane Crash

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(RENO, Nev.) -- The death toll keeps rising from the stunt plane crash at last Friday's National Championship Air Races and Air Show in Reno, Nevada.

The Washoe County Medical Examiner’s Office announced Tuesday that an 11th person had died as a result of the accident that occurred when the pilot of a World War II-era P-51 Mustang Galloping Ghost apparently lost control of his aircraft and slammed into the VIP section of the stands.

Stunt pilot James Leeward, 74, was killed instantly.  Of the 10 spectators who also perished, two have still not been identified.

Another 70 people were also injured in the crash, and several remain in critical condition.

The National Safety Transportation Board has not yet determined what caused the plane to crash.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug222011

Update: Death 'Imminent' for Seventh Victim of Indiana Stage Collapse

Joey Foley/Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS) -- The death of a seventh victim of the Indiana State Fair stage collapse is apparently imminent, according to corrected reports from local and national news outlets.

Earlier reports citing the Marion County Coroner's Office had erroneously stated that 24-year-old Meagan Toothman had passed, but officials have clarified earlier statements, saying now that Toothman is on life support, with "death imminent," according to ABC News affiliate WRTV.

On Friday, officials confirmed a sixth person -- Jennifer Haskell, a 22-year-old college senior at Ball State University -- had died as a result of the accident.

More than 40 people were injured Aug. 13 when a stage at the Indiana State Fair buckled and collapsed during a thunderstorm.

State officials continue to investigate the role weather played in the stage’s collapse and whether concert organizers took the proper measures in alerting people to the impending danger.

The crowd had been warned that thunderstorms were approaching and that they might have to evacuate. But the same announcer said concert organizers hoped the show would go on, so many stayed put.

Two minutes later, just before 9 p.m., it was too late.

"The funnel cloud came in and all of a sudden it started twirling around and the next thing I knew, I looked over my shoulder and the stand started coming down," witness Jay Keiser said.

Officials have said the accident was the worst at the Indiana fairgrounds since a 1963 explosion at the fairgrounds coliseum killed 74 people attending an ice skating show.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May302011

Joplin Tornado: Officials Release New List of Dead, Missing

Edwin Wilson, OETA(JOPLIN, Mo.) -- State officials said Monday that the death toll from the tornado in Joplin, Mo., last week will likely settle around 130 people.

As of Monday morning, 146 sets of remains had been recovered – including partial remains, according to officials. The number of identified victims stands at 101 people.

“We will not give up until every single person is accounted for,” said Andrea Spillers, deputy director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety, at a Monday news conference.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
May272011

Joplin Tornado: Missouri Releases New List of Missing People

Julie Denesha/Getty Images(JOPLIN, Mo.) -- Officials have released a new list of people who remain missing or unaccounted for following Sunday's deadly tornado in Joplin, Mo.

Ninety names have been removed from the list, but 22 more were added, bringing the total number of those believed to be missing to 156.

State officials report 126 confirmed fatalities. Only 19 bodies have been identified and released to families.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May232011

Missouri Reeling from Deadliest American Tornado in 60 Years

Julie Denesha/Getty Images(JOPLIN, Mo.) -- The death toll from the monster tornado that ripped through Joplin, Mo., has soared to 116, making it the deadliest single tornado in nearly 60 years. The lethal Joplin twister has also made 2011 the deadliest year for tornadoes since 1953, with 454 deaths in 1,000 tornadoes so far, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

This past April also set a record as the deadliest month on record with 361 tornado related deaths, according to NOAA's records. The Joplin tornado was rated as an EF-4, the second-strongest classification with winds ranging between 166 and 200 mph. The nearly mile-wide funnel touched down at 5:41 p.m. CT Sunday and blasted a six mile wide path through the city and left trapped survivors crying out for help Monday morning.

Rescuers shifted through rubble Monday looking for survivors as high winds and hail continues to plague the area. The storm and its aftermath included amazing stories of survival.

One man was saved by rescuers after texting his friend his location and the words, "I'm alive."

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency Sunday evening and activated the Missouri National Guard in response to the destruction.

Four people were killed at St. John's Regional Medical Center in Joplin when it took a direct hit from the tornado. Patients and staff have been evacuated as damage suffered during the storm has affected the structural integrity of the building. Every window in the facility was blown out and the top two floors were blown off, ABC News affiliate KMBC reported.

Hospital spokeswoman Cora Scott told the station that 183 patients were in the hospital at the time and the facility only had five minutes warning that the tornado would strike. More than 100 patients have since been evacuated to other hospitals, Scott said.

Seven people have been reported dead at a nursing home, according to police reports.

In the city of about 50,000 people 160 miles south of Kansas City, the tornado was reported to be a mile wide, with winds of nearly 200 mph that ravaged the area. Authorities estimate 25 to 30 percent of Joplin has been damaged by the tornado, with highly populated areas having been hit by the storm.

Cries could be heard early this morning from people trapped below the wreckage, while crews have been pulling out bodies and lining them up in the streets for loved ones to identify, according to ABC News affiliate KODE.

More severe weather, including high winds, rain and hail, is expected Tuesday before the storms finally abate later in the week, according to Accuweather meteorologist Mark Paquette.

There is also a fear of gas explosions in the storm's aftermath and authorities are telling people not to light any cigarettes because so many gas pipes are broken, causing concern that what's left of Joplin might go up in flames, KODE reported.

In total, 70 tornadoes were produced by the storm system since Friday, including at least 47 tornadoes Sunday. Tornadoes were reported in seven states from the Canadian border to Oklahoma. Warnings and watches were posted from Texas to Michigan.

President Obama released a statement on the emergency late Sunday night, saying, "Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the families of all those who lost their lives in the tornadoes and severe weather that struck Joplin, Missouri as well as communities across the Midwest today. We commend the heroic efforts by those who have responded and who are working to help their friends and neighbors at this very difficult time."

Regarding the government's response to the disaster, the president's statement continued, "At my direction, FEMA is working with the affected areas' state and local officials to support response and recovery efforts, and the federal government stands ready to help our fellow Americans as needed.

Earlier Sunday, tornadoes had torn across other parts of the region, killing at least one person in Minneapolis.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
May012011

Church Services Held, Burials Begin in Aftermath of Southern Storms

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(TUSCALOOSA, Ala.) -- An open-air church service took place in the town of Phil Campbell in Alabama on Sunday, as residents there and in other areas hit by deadly tornadoes the previous week, continue to pick up the pieces in the wake of the storms' destruction.

In Phil Campbell, where 26 residents were killed, Pastor Chris Burns told those who had gathered for the service in the spot where their church once stood, that the small town would recover from the tragedy.

“Last Sunday was Easter, and we celebrated on the first day of the week a resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and today, we celebrate a resurrection of Phil Campbell, Alabama,” said Burns.

Elsewhere in Alabama, in Tuscaloosa, where 36 people died, there were armies of church members reportedly moving about communities collecting relief supplies and then distributing those supplies to people in need. Officials in Alabama say approximately 1,700 people were injured by the storms in the state, and at least 248 people were killed.

In Smithville, Mississippi on Sunday, residents began the process of burying those who were killed by the violent weather. A pastor in the tiny town told ABC News that he has already buried one of his neighbors, a woman who was pulled from the rubble of her home alive, but later died. Smithville has a population of about 800, with the storm claiming the lives of about a dozen of the town’s residents. At least 34 people were reportedly killed by the storms in Mississippi.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio