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Rescue Workers Search for Dead, Injured in Twister-Flattened Town With PM-Tornadoes, Bjt

April 27, 1991

ANDOVER, Kan. (AP) _ Rescue workers searched for more dead and injured amid the rubble of buildings after a tornado flattened much of this town, killing at least 16 people.

Sirens whined throughout the night as ambulances carried scores of injured people to hospitals in nearby Wichita. Rescue workers Friday night used jacks to pull a pregnant woman out from under a trailer and take her to the hospital.

″I believe she was going into labor on the way″ to the hospital, said Andover resident Brian Sutter.

In the first light of day, residents could see that much of their town - including an entire mobile home park containing about 400 homes - was flattened.

A series of tornadoes - including at least 10 in Kansas - touched down in Kansas and Oklahoma on Friday, killing at least 26 people in the two states. Twisters also damaged homes, tossed trees and downed power lines in Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa.

Hardest hit was Andover, where Mayor Jack Finlason said at least 16 died and 150 were injured. Earlier, he had put the number of dead at 22. But at a briefing this morning, he said that just 16 bodies had been located.

The twister also leveled 500 homes, including those at the the Golden Spur Mobile Home Park. At least 2,000 people were left homeless.

The National Weather Service said the same tornado struck parts of Wichita and Andover about 6:15 p.m., and eight others were reported in southeastern and south central Kansas the next four hours.

″I saw it coming and I looked out the door,″ said mobile home park resident Anton Kemper, whose wife, Elsi, was killed. ″We didn’t even have time to jump in our boots. We ran out to try to get away from it. We ran into the heavy tool shed.″

But the tornado hit the shed. ’It just twisted it around and around in circles,″ Kemper said.

Update hourly