Boy Scouts killed in Little Sioux, IA Tornado - June 11, 2008

The Midwest has had terrible weather the 2nd week of June. Tornados, torrential rains, flooding, 100+ mph winds.

I have lived in Nebraska for 70 years and cannot remember this many tornados hitting this close to home. Last Sunday, one ripped through my hometown Omaha, NE....first hitting the Millard area and then moving on through parts of southwest Omaha.

Now, this very sad incident in Little Sioux Iowa. Four scouts were killed and several were in critical condition at area hospitals.

DES MOINES, Iowa: At least four boy scouts were killed and dozens injured when a tornado tore through a Boy Scout Ranch in western Iowa Wednesday evening, June 11, 2008, as more than 30 twisters ripped through the Midwest. The deadly twisters struck the Little Sioux Scout Ranch in western Iowa, about 40 miles north of Omaha, NE about 5:35 p.m., killing four and injuring at least 20, authorities said.

All of the children had been accounted for late Wednesday after rescuers cut their way through downed trees and debris to reach them. Search and rescue operations at the scout camp where dozens had gathered for a summer retreat continued early Thursday after a storm-wracked night. Officials had yet to say how many of the dead were adults or boys. The scouts had been attending an annual "Pohuk Pride" week long junior leader training event at the 1,800-acre ranch, which has four cabin shelters, a 15-acre lake, a rifle range and six hiking trails. 92 campers aged 13 to 17, and 25 adults were at the scout camp when the tornado struck.

In addition to the four dead, three from Omaha and one from Eagle Grove, Iowa, at least 20 and possibly up to 40 people were injured, several critically. Boys who had gathered in the largest shelter were showered with bricks and debris when the tornado hit the building, shattering the large fireplace and collapsing the roof. Ambulances, police and emergency personnel from neighboring counties raced to the area along with volunteers and Red Cross crews who were on hand to assist frantic parents searching for their children.

Parents were unable to reach campsites and were gathered at the Little Sioux Church of Christ in nearby Little Sioux, Iowa, waiting, slumped against walls, crying, and praying. Some parents whose children had cell phones got quick word that they were OK….others did the only thing they could do ....wait and pray.

Four scouts died that horrible afternoon, Aaron Eilerts, 14, of Eagle Grove, Iowa; and Josh Fennen, 13, Sam Thomsen, 13, and Ben Petrzilka, 14, all of Omaha, NE.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i have lived in the millard area for nearly 10 years now and not only did my house get damaged from the tornado but i also knew one of the boys that died...i went to high school with his sister Erica Fennan. i was really saddened to hear of his passing because he was a great kid and a wonderful human being. he will be missed dearly!