Massive Tornado Hits Greensburg, KN
Brian A Kennedy | May 5, 2007 at 03:13 amby
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"The entire town was pretty much wiped out," said storm chaser Allan Detrich. "There wasn't too many buildings standing."
The Kiowa County Memorial Hospital was partially collapsed, trapping 30 people with minor injuries who were later rescued, according to Kansas Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Sharon Watson. (Watch another tornado touch down in Oklahoma Video)
A search team from Sedgewick, Kansas, that specializes in rescues from collapsed buildings, was called in to help, Watson said.
Saturday morning, officials were still checking to make sure they had accounted for everyone in Greensburg, she said. About 75 percent of the town was either destroyed or damaged.
At least 40 people who were injured by the storm in Greensburg were driven 50 miles east to Pratt Regional Medical Center for treatment, according to hospital spokeswoman Kim Stivers.
People with less severe injuries were lining the hallways and lobby, while the more seriously hurt were being treated in the emergency room, Stivers said. Some patients were sent on from Pratt to Wichita hospitals, she said.
Detrich, who was able to enter Greensburg soon after the twister passed through, said the small town was flattened.
"People were walking down the street like something out of a horror flick, a zombie movie," Detrich said
Storm chaser Marty Logan, who took a dramatic photo of a tornado backlit by a burst of lightning south of Greensburg, estimated that it was at least a half-mile wide. Two smaller tornados were following to the right of the larger twister as they swept northward into Greensburg, he said.
The American Red Cross was using school and charter buses to transport hundreds of Greensburg residents about 10 miles east to shelters opened in Haviland, Kansas, at a high school and a college, Watson said.
The Kansas National Guard dispatched 40 troops to Greensburg to help with security, she said.
Hazardous materials teams were sent into Greensburg to look at several overturned rail cars, she said.
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