NPR logo 4 Boy Scouts Die When Tornado Hits Campground


4 Boy Scouts Die When Tornado Hits Campground

Four teenagers were killed and 48 others were injured after a tornado ripped through a Boy Scout campground in western Iowa, Boy Scouts of America officials said Thursday.

The storm killed three 13-year-olds and one 14-year-old, said Lloyd Roitstein, an executive with the Mid America Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

At least 42 of the injured remained hospitalized Thursday morning; four were in serious but stable condition, officials said.

Roitstein said a tornado siren went off at the camp, but the Scouts had already taken cover before it sounded. There was no time to remove them from the isolated retreat.

The boys had been in two groups when the storm hit the Little Sioux Scout Ranch in the Loess Hills. One group managed to take shelter, but the other group was out hiking.

About 93 Scouts, ages 13 to 18, and 25 staffers were attending weeklong leadership training when the twister ripped through the area around 6:35 p.m. Wednesday.

All of the Scouts and staff have been located, said Gene Meyer, Iowa's public safety commissioner. He said searchers were making another pass through the grounds to make sure no one else was injured.

Roitstein said tents, buildings and trees at the campsite were destroyed.

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Thomas White, a Scout supervisor, said he dug through the wreckage of a collapsed fireplace to reach victims in a building where many Scouts were seeking shelter when the twister struck.

"A bunch of us got together and started undoing the rubble from the fireplace and stuff and waiting for the first responders," White told KMTV in Omaha, Neb.

Taylor Willoughby, 13, said several Scouts were getting ready to watch a movie when someone screamed that there was a tornado. "It sounded like a jet that was flying by really close," Taylor told NBC's Today show. "I was hoping that we all made it out OK. I was afraid for my life."

From NPR and wire reports