News / USA

Death Toll From US Tornado Rises to 142

A search and rescue team looks for victims at a devastated apartment complex in Joplin, Missouri, May 26, 2011.
A search and rescue team looks for victims at a devastated apartment complex in Joplin, Missouri, May 26, 2011.

The death toll from one of the deadliest tornadoes to ever hit the United States rose to 142 Saturday, as rescue crews sifted through the rubble to search for those still unaccounted for.

Officials say 100 people are missing in the central U.S. city of Joplin, Missouri, which was struck last Sunday by a strong tornado.

They say the bodies of some victims are so badly damaged it will be necessary to use DNA and dental records to identify them.  

On Sunday, U.S. President Barack Obama plans to travel to Joplin to speak with people affected by the tornado and discuss response efforts with local officials.  He has pledged the government will do everything it can to help people recover and rebuild.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has declared Sunday a "State Day of Prayer and Remembrance."

The newly identified victims included teenager Will Norton.  Family members had been searching for him until late Friday.  They said he had been sucked out of his father's vehicle as the pair drove home from Norton's high school graduation ceremony.

The tornado tore through Joplin with winds topping 300 kilometers an hour, tearing apart homes and buildings, crushing cars and snapping trees.

The National Weather Service says the tornado was the deadliest to hit the U.S. since 1947.  This has been the deadliest year in the United States for tornadoes since 1950.

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