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Tornado outbreak death toll in Kentucky rises to 74

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Dozens dead, more than 100 missing after tornadoes
Dozens dead, more than 100 still missing after tornado outbreak 04:52

The confirmed death toll from Friday's devastating tornado outbreak continued to rise Monday afternoon. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced at least 74 people were killed in his state, which he said suffered "the worst tornado event" in its history.

The governor said Monday morning that it may take weeks before the final death toll would be known. Dozens of people remain unaccounted for. The severe weather and tornadoes affected seven other states, killing at least 13 additional people.

In Kentucky, at least eight people were killed in a candle factory in Mayfield, where more than 100 workers were inside when a tornado struck.

"Everybody was falling to the bottom of the building," Barbara Tate, an employee at the Mayfield Consumer Products factory, told CBS News. "All you heard was screaming and hollering and people howling for 'help me, help me.' And you crying and want to help them, but you can't help them because you're trying to help yourself because you don't know you're going to live or die."


Two-month old is youngest known victim of Kentucky tornadoes

2-month-old among youngest tornado victims 02:45

The youngest known victim of Friday's tornado outbreak is 2-month-old Oaklynn Koon. The baby's family sheltered inside a bathroom as the tornado ripped through Dawson Springs, Kentucky. 

The baby was hospitalized after the tornado flung her into a neighbor's yard while she was strapped in the carseat her parents thought would keep her safe. 

Oaklynn Koon's mother, Jackie Koon, posted about the ordeal on Facebook, including photos of the baby and her brothers at the hospital that showed their injuries. Jackie Koon said her daughter died Sunday night from her injuries. 

"At least I know who will be watching over you up there for me. My dad. God this doesn't seem real," she wrote on Facebook.

The baby's grandmother, Audrey Carman, remembered her as "a beautiful little girl" who "would have grown up to be awesome."

Carman told CBS News correspondent Lilia Luciano that Oaklynn was "precious." 

"She was just the light of their life. My son was so excited to have this little baby girl," Carman said. "We'll never know, who she'll look like for sure, what she would have done in life."

By Lilia Luciano

Mother said she warned son who was working at Amazon warehouse to get to safety before he died

6 killed in Amazon warehouse collapse in Illinois 02:46

The last time Carla Cope spoke to her son, Clay, she did what moms do: She told him to be safe as tornadoes neared an Amazon facility in Edwardsville, Illinois, where he was working. 

"We talked to him on the phone and said the storm is headed your way, and I heard him say, 'I guess we should go tell that guy,' and … I said, 'Then get yourself to shelter.' And then we hung up the phone and that's the last we talked to him," she told CBS News correspondent Mola Lenghi. 

After the tornadoes, the Copes drove to the Amazon distribution center and waited outside for more than six hours for word on their son. 

"At about 4:30 in the morning, I think it was the fire chief and the coroner came to the car and told us that they had located his body," Cope said.

Her son, a Navy veteran and avid outdoorsman, was set to celebrate his 30 birthday in two weeks. He is one of six Amazon workers killed in the tornadoes. 

"He was just a really good soul," Cope said. "He just had a really big heart. He would do anything for anybody."

By Mola Lenghi

Hundreds of National Guardsmen deployed in Kentucky

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said 448 National Guardsmen are assisting with recovery efforts in the state. At least 95 Guardsmen are searching for the more than 100 people who are unaccounted for, Beshear said.

"Their search is one where we hope they don't find them, we hope somebody connects to them, and they're out there, and we just don't know where they are yet," the governor said.

By Alex Sundby

Death toll in Kentucky rises to 74

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced Monday afternoon at least 74 people were killed in his state.

By Alex Sundby

Federal agency opens probe into deadly Amazon warehouse collapse

Search continues after tornado rips through Illinois Amazon warehouse, killing at least six people 02:27

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the deadly collapse of an Amazon warehouse during Friday's tornado outbreak, a spokesperson for the Labor Department said Monday. Six employees were killed when a tornado hit the company's distribution center in Edwardsville, Illinois.

Scott Allen, a Labor Department regional director for public affairs, said in a statement to CBS News that compliance officers with the safety agency have been at the site since Saturday. The agency has six months to complete its investigation, Allen said.

The agency can issue citations and propose financial penalties if it finds any safety or health violations, Allen said.

By Alex Sundby

"It's just upsetting … that's the town that you grew up in"

Twisted sheet metal, downed power lines and wrecked cars line the streets in Mayfield. Windows were blown out and roofs were torn off buildings.

"It's just upsetting, you know, to know that that's the town that you grew up in and everything," said Elyce Ray.

Entire neighborhoods are shells of what they once were. Residents have pulled out belongings that could be saved, but there are no homes for them to go back to.

-Laura Podesta


Biden heading to Kentucky on Wednesday to survey tornado damage

President Biden will travel to Kentucky on Wednesday to assess the damage from the tornado outbreak, the White House announced.

Mr. Biden will first participate in a storm briefing at Fort Campbell before heading to Mayfield and Dawson Springs to survey the storm damage, according to the White House.

During a briefing at the White House on the storms, the president pledged his administration is "going to be there as long as it takes to help."

Read more here

By Melissa Quinn

Couple survives tornado with 7-year-old grandson: "He was so scared"

All that's left of Robert and Karima Bright's home is a small closet. It was the only one in their home and where they rode out the storm with their 7-year-old grandson.

"He was so scared," Karima said. "I said we're going to be okay, we're going to make it. Just hold on, hold on, hold on."

And when it was over, their late son's Bible was the first thing they found in the wreckage.

Karima told "CBS Evening News" anchor and managing editor Norah O'Donnell that it means "more than my life" that they found the Bible. She credits God for saving them.

"It's all God because he saved us in that closet," she said.

Read more here.


Minister and wife survive tornado by hiding in church closet

Minister in Mayfield, Kentucky, says he took shelter in basement closet to survive catastrophic tornado 06:25

A Kentucky minister survived a catastrophic tornado in the hard-hit city of Mayfield by taking shelter with his wife in the basement closet of their church — much of which turned into rubble.

The Reverend Joey Reed, a minister at Mayfield First United Methodist Church, described that harrowing experience and the storm's impact on the community in an interview with "CBS Mornings" on Monday.

"I realized it might be my last few moments of my life on this earth and I was very glad to be with my wife," he said. "I know her prayer and mine was that we'd be spared. I was afraid for my children, what would happen to them and how they would respond to this."

Read more here.


Survivors recount helping others escape tornado rubble

Candle factory destroyed by tornado in Kentucky, killing eight workers 04:21

More than 100 workers at the Mayfield Consumer Products factory, in Mayfield, Kentucky, were making candles when a tornado tore through the building Friday night.

Workers say they were told to huddle in a hallway, which was the strongest part of the building, as the storm approached. They watched as the roof peeled away and the walls caved in. The company told CBS News that at least eight of them were killed, and six other workers are still missing.

Workers told "CBS Mornings" lead national correspondent David Begnaud how they managed to survive being pinned underneath the collapsed building, and about their "hero" colleagues who pulled one another out of the rubble.

Read more here.


Dozens unaccounted for in Kentucky

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said Monday it may take weeks before the final death toll would be known in his state. Dozens of people remain unaccounted for.

By Alex Sundby

At least 64 killed in Kentucky

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced Monday at least 64 people were killed in his state, which he said suffered "the worst tornado event" in its history.

By Alex Sundby
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