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Authorities Say Report of Hikers Missing in Tornado Was Wrong

May 31, 1995

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. (AP) _ Authorities say a report that two hikers were missing after a deadly tornado was wrong.

A search was called off for good Tuesday after more than 200 people scoured the Appalachian Trail. At least 1,200 homes and 15 businesses were damaged Monday night when the twister careened through this picturesque town in the Berkshire mountains, tearing a swath 15 miles long and hundreds of yards wide.

Three people were killed as they drove from a shopping trip back to a school for mentally retarded boys with emotional and behavioral problems. The dead were identified as students Vinson Verble, 18, of Baltimore; Christopher Bilodeux, 14, of Somerset; and staffer Leslie Elson, 61, of New York City.

Counselor Seung Choi, 28, who was driving the car, was in stable condition today. He was thrown clear of the car as it was hurled into a stand of trees by winds of up to 260 mph.

``He said `The children were belted in but I don’t know where the car is,‴ said Eagleton School Director Bruce Bona, who found Choi dazed and walking along a highway looking for the car.

Twenty-three others also were injured.

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