The Kansas City Star reports:
More than 230 people remain unaccounted for four days after the deadliest single tornado in more than six decades tore through the middle of Joplin, Missouri officials said today. Officials released a list of names, and Andrea Spillars, deputy director and general counsel for the Missouri Department of Public Safety, urged any survivors on the list to check in.
The death toll rose Wednesday to 125 people, not all of them identified, and officials have estimated more than 900 were injured.
Some families have complained about not being allowed into the morgue to try to identify missing relatives. Asked about that today, Don Bloom, the deputy commander for family assistance for the mortuary team, said “the process has to take it’s time. We have to be 100 percent accurate.”
Search-and-rescue teams have made multiple sweeps through the destruction, using dozens of dogs and listening devices in hopes of picking up the faint sound of anyone still alive beneath the collapsed homes and businesses. No new survivors have been pulled from the rubble since Tuesday.
Among those still missing is 16-year-old Lantz Hare. He was driving with a friend who said the two tried to take cover in the parking lot of a grocery store. The tornado shattered the windows and crumpled the car, and Lantz’s father, Mike Hare, found his son’s backpack in the wreckage.
Mike Hare has called hospitals from Dallas to Kansas City and taken dozens of calls offering advice, prayers and hopeful tips. None of the calls came from Lantz or offered any hope he might still be alive. But Hare said he’ll keep searching until he finds his son.
“We know he’s hurt somewhere,” Hare said Wednesday, his voice breaking. “We just can’t sit and keep calling. You’ve got to be moving.”
The Salvation Army has already begun relief work in the town through mobile feeding kitchens and recovery missions. The organization has set up special numbers to donate funds.
Cell phone users may text “JOPLIN” to 80888 to make a $10 donation. Credit card donations can be made by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY or by going to www.salvationarmyusa.org. Checks may be mailed to The Salvation Army, 3637 Broadway, Kansas City, MO 64111. Be sure to note “Joplin Tornado” on the check.
Relief efforts can also be tracked through a Facebook page titled “”Joplin, MO Tornado Recovery.”
In addition to accepting donations, HS Healing and Wellness Center is looking for additional volunteers to drive supplies down to Joplin. If you want to volunteer, call Gerrettie at 815-741-4386.
A story of the heroic actions of Pizza Hut Manager, Christopher Lucas via NBC Action News:
“You knew the storm was serious. You could not even see a funnel, it was a mile wide,” exclaimed Fluhart. “All you saw was a wall.”Fluhart says his manager tried to get everyone into a walk in freezer, but according to Fluhart, people were being “ripped” out of the freezer into the tornado.
That’s when Fluhart said Lucas took heroic action. The restaurant manager wrapped a bungee cable holding the freezer door shut around his arm, trying to keep it shut. Fluhart tried to aid his boss.
“As soon as I saw the door slipped, I grabbed him,” said Fluhart. “I grabbed him, and I holding on with one hand to the cable, but he was holding it mostly.”
“And then, when everything blew away, he was gone, the door was gone, everything…”
Christopher Lucas was a father of two.
Video at link.