Incomprehensible destruction: Authorities lower death toll to 24; number of injured hits 240, including 60 kids

Tuesday, May 21, 2013
By Paul Martin
May 21, 2013

OKLAHOMA – Rescuers searched frantically for survivors Tuesday as the death toll from the massive tornado that leveled suburban Oklahoma City was dropped to 24. The sharp decline from the original fatality list of 51 names was likely caused by double counting of victims, authorities said. “We have got good news. The number right now is 24,” said Amy Elliott, chief administrative officer at the Oklahoma City Medical Examiner’s Office. She blamed the earlier high estimate on the large amount of “chaos” in the wake of the twister. All but three of the bodies recovered have been identified and are being returned to their families, she said. The number of injured was placed at 240, with 60 of them being children. The National Weather Service gave a preliminary ranking of EF4 to the twister, meaning it is the second-most powerful type of tornado, with winds up to 200 mph. The devastating storm struck Monday, and by late that night, 51 people were said to be dead and some two dozen children missing. Whole neighborhoods were flattened, families shattered and loved ones unaccounted for in the chaos of wind-scattered debris. Rescue workers combed through the wreckage of two elementary schools as darkness covered destroyed communities. –NY Daily News

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