Four dead, 48 injured as tornado hits Boy Scout camp
The Associated Press, June. 12, 2008
Frightened Boy Scouts huddled in a shelter as a tornado tore through their western
Tornadoes also raked
The tornado that struck a Boy Scout camp in western Iowa killed three 13-year-old scouts and one 14-year-old scout, said Lloyd Roitstein, an executive with the Mid America Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He did not release the names of the victims.
Roitstein said a tornado siren went off at the camp, but the scouts had already taken cover before the siren sounded.
The boys were split into two groups when the storm hit the Little Sioux Scout Ranch in the remote Loess Hills. One group managed to take shelter, while the other was out hiking.
At least 42 of the injured remained hospitalized Thursday morning, with everything from cuts and bruises to major head trauma, said Gene Meyer,
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the families of the victims," Gov. Chet Culver said. "We continue to do everything we can to make sure those injured are going to recover."
All the scouts and staff were accounted for, Meyer said, adding that searchers were making another pass through the grounds to make sure no one else was injured. The camp was destroyed.
Thomas White, a scout supervisor, said he dug through the wreckage of a collapsed fireplace to reach victims in a building where many scouts sought shelter.
"A bunch of us got together and started undoing the rubble from the fireplace and stuff and waiting for the first responders," White told KMTV in
The twister struck at , about 3 1/4 hours after the National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for a large portion of western Iown and eastern
The nearest tornado siren is in nearby Blencoe, but that siren sounded only briefly after the storm cut power to the town, said Russ Lawrenson of the Mondamin Fire Department.
"The tornado came in pretty fast, ahead of the storm," he said.
Taylor Willoughby, 13, said several scouts were getting ready to watch a movie when someone screamed that there was a tornado. Everyone in the building hunkered down, he said, and windows were breaking.
"It sounded like a jet that was flying by really close,"
Ethan Hession, also 13, said he crawled under a table with his friend.
"I just remember looking over at my friend, and all of a sudden he just says to me, `Dear God, save us,'" he told "Today." "Then I just closed my eyes and all of a sudden it's (the tornado) gone."
Ethan said the scouts' first-aid training immediately compelled them to act.
"We knew that we need to place tourniquets on wounds that were bleeding too much. We knew we need to apply pressure and gauze. We had first-aid kits, we had everything," he said.
Ethan said one staff member took off his shirt and put it on a guy who was bleeding to apply pressure and gauze. Other scouts started digging people out of the rubble, he said.
The injured were taken to
Burgess spokeswoman Beth Frangedakis said 19 victims arrived at the hospital around Their ages ranged from 2 months to 15 years, plus three adults.
Frangedakis said four were admitted to the hospital, one was taken by helicopter to
Gayle Jessen of
"I'm so relieved my son is OK," Jessen said. She said her husband was headed to the hospital to pick up their son.
David Hunt, chairman of the Mid-America Boy Scout Council's Goldenrod District, which covers several eastern
The 1,800-ranch about 40 miles north of
The tornado touched down as
Iowa Homeland Security spokeswoman Julie Tack said officials were confident that the state's emergency response teams could handle the crisis because western
Meanwhile, a line of tornadoes cut a diagonal swath across
"It went through the heart of the community," Brad Homman, director of administration and emergency services for
Watson said one victim was found in a yard in Chapman. Homman said three people were critically injured and taken to
Electricity was out across town, and Homman said the search continued for other possible victims. "We're still going through methodically one residence at a time," he said.
A tornado also hit the
Another struck a farm near
High water in
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