Search Crews Fear Tornado Death Toll Will Rise - NECN

Search Crews Fear Tornado Death Toll Will Rise



    (NECN/KOCO/KWTV/KOTV) - With more than 500 people killed so far,  2011 is the deadliest tornado season in the U.S. since 1953. In Joplin, Missouri, the search for survivors is growing more desperate for family members.  

    Across the Midwest, people are continuing to pick up the pieces after days of devastating storms. In Canadian County, Oklahoma, rescuers are still searching for a 3-year-old boy missing after Tuesday's storms. In Joplin, Missouri, relatives of the missing enter a fourth day of searching, their agony only growing.  

    "How do you put into words that one of your two sons is missing? I mean, something as catastrophic as all this, you don't know whether he's underneath a piece of wood or whether he's in the hospital or where he's at. And we searched and searched and searched. So I got to keep searching," said Mike Hare.

    There is no official tally for the number of missing in Joplin. Estimates earlier in the week put the figure as high as 1,500. Even as time passes and hope fades, city officials say the search for survivors will continue.  

    "We have to develop the next phase in our recovery process but we are not giving up and we'll continue to search as we develop those next steps in the recovery process," said Joplin city manager Mark Rohr.

    A call-in center has been set up to gather information and coordinate searches. Missouri governor Jay Nixon says he understands the importance of keeping relatives of the missing informed.  

    "Then you have folks that are lost, when you have folks that are missing, we are very cognizant of the need to talk to those families first and trying to get to the families," said Nixon.

    State officials are releasing a list of the missing as search and rescuers continue to wade through this wreckage.