The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

June 2, 2013

Oklahoma death toll up to 13, with 7 still missing


From The Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — The death toll from Friday's tornadoes and flash floods in Oklahoma has increased to 13, but authorities said five children and two adults remained missing and aren't expected to be found alive.

Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office spokeswoman Amy Elliott said Sunday that four additional people were found dead, raising the count from nine to 13. Among those killed in the storms were four children and nine adults.

Elliott, who provided the update in a news release, didn't provide details on the circumstances of the deaths. She didn't return phone calls to The Associated Press for comment.

Oklahoma City Deputy Fire Chief Marc Woodard said Sunday a total of seven people were missing from two different areas. An adult and two children were being sought in northwest Oklahoma City, and an adult and three children remained missing in the southwest part of the city.

The effort has shifted from a rescue operation to one of recoveries, Woodard said.

Oklahoma authorities released no victim names, but a family member confirmed the deaths of three storm chasers killed after being caught in an EF3 tornado that ripped through El Reno.

Weather officials said the storms brought five tornadoes and violent flash flooding.

Woodard said 10 people seeking shelter in a ditch around midnight Friday were swept into a storm drain. Six survived, but an adult and three children remain missing.

The search for those victims has been moving progressively downstream, he said.

"We've been searching that area ... throughout the night and since then," he said.

Authorities weren't contacted about the other group, on the city's northwest side, until Saturday night. Searchers found the bodies of a man, a woman and two children. An adult and two children were still being sought.

The search area is a creek that runs along Interstate 44, Woodard said.

"We'll be out there until finally we have everyone accounted for," he said.