CHICAGO — The number of people missing after the deadliest single tornado to strike the United States in more than six decades has been whittled down to just 10, state officials said Tuesday.
A mile-wide May 22 twister reduced much of the Missouri town of Joplin to rubble, leaving at least 120 people dead as it tore apart homes, businesses, a hospital and a school along a four-mile (six-kilometer) path of destruction.
Although 146 sets of human remains were discovered, the final death toll may be lower because some of the partial remains “could be from the same individuals,” department of public safety spokesman Mike O’Connell told AFP.
Officials said they were heartened by the fact that 144 people reported missing by anxious loved ones had now been located.
Only nine people were pulled alive from the rubble in the days after the tornado struck and officials have said it would take a “miracle” to find any more survivors now.
President Barack Obama toured the damaged city Sunday and promised residents the country would stand by them “every step of the way” as rebuilding efforts begin.