Dozens of tornadoes killed at least six people, injured many others and left devastating damage in parts of Illinois.
The powerful tornadoes have swept through the Midwest, destroying buildings and overturning vehicles in the states of Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky.
Brookport, Illinois, in Massac County near the Kentucky line, was particularly hard hit. At least two people were confirmed to have died, and police with dogs were going door to door to search for trapped residents. With roads entering the city closed by debris and downed power lines, Brookport authorities imposed a 6 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew.
At least four other people were killed in Illinois, the state Emergency Management Agency told NBC News. An 80-year-old man and his 78-year-old sister were killed near New Minden, according to Washington County Coroner Mark Styninger, and unidentified victims were confirmed dead in Washington city and in Unionville.
Dozens of tornadoes killed at least six people, injured many others and left devastating damage in parts of Illinois
Forecasters said people in 10 states had been at risk. Hailstones the size of tennis balls have been reported.
The storm was so fast-moving – with winds of up to 68 mph – that weather services issued warnings for people not to wait until they saw the weather change.
It is continuing its way east.
November is ordinarily one of the quietest months in the tornado calendar, meaning these storms are unusually destructive for this time of year.
About 80 reports of tornadoes had come in by late Sunday, said the National Weather Service – though a spokesman cautioned that multiple reporting meant the confirmed number might be about 30 or 40.
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Richard A. Risinger, a tree trimmer from Belleville, Illinois, was killed in the front yard of a customer’s home after he was dragged into a wood chipper – as his co-worker wife watched on in horror.
Richard A. Risinger, 54, was mangled to death after his jacket became caught in the machine while he was loading tree limbs during a routine job.
When police officers arrived at the scene in Belleville at 9:50 a.m. on Friday, they observed Richard A. Risinger entangled in the wood chipper.
He was “obviously deceased”.
According to the Alton Telegraph, Detective Mark Heffernan of the Belleville Police Department said:
“There was a resident in that block that had hired a tree service to do some work on the property.
“[Mr Risinger] was part of the crew working on the property.
“We believe he was feeding a branch into the apparatus, and something caused him to become entangled, and he was pulled in.”
Richard A. Risinger, a tree trimmer from Belleville, Illinois, was killed in the front yard of a customer's home after he was dragged into a wood chipper - as his co-worker wife watched on in horror
Mark Heffernan declined to release the name of the tree service but said Richard A. Risinger was one of five or six workers on the crew, one of whom was his wife.
A spokesman for the St. Clair County Coroner’s Office confirmed that Richard A. Risinger’s wife witnessed the accident but authorities declined to release her name.
The spokesman said Richard A. Risinger, from nearby Alton, was pronounced dead at the scene. He had sustained massive trauma.
“Evidently, part of his jacket or coat got tangled up and dragged him in head-first,” the coroner’s spokesman said.
He described the wood chipper as a “big, heavy piece of machinery”.
The chipper was on a trailer being pulled by a truck, the Alton Telegraph reported. No one else was injured in the incident, authorities said.
Mark Heffernan said the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)was notified about the accident.
“It is ‘standard procedure for any workplace-related incident resulting in death.”
OSHA representatives were conducting an investigation, authorities said.
“We believe this to be a tragic accident,” Mark Heffernan said.
“This was such a traumatic and sudden incident. Out of respect to the family, I don’t want to release any more details.”
Ashlynn Conner, a 10-year-old girl from Ridge Farm, Illinois, who was a cheerleader and honour student at her school, killed herself after a torment of bullies.
Ashlynn Conner’s mother, Stacy, said she knew about the bullying, but never thought it would drive her daughter to kill herself.
Stacy Conner, said she had planned to meet with the school principal this week after Ashlynn complained she was being taunted by schoolmates who called her fat, ugly and worse.
The mother told WCIA-TV: “They’d call her a slut. Ashlynn’s ugly. She’s fat.”
“I thought my kids are strong kids, and that my words for them for guidance and advice was going to have more weight than what these kids could be saying.”
On Thursday, Ashlynn Conner pleaded with her mother to allow her to be home schooled to escape Ridge Farm Elementary – and the mother refused.
Ashlynn Conner, a 10-year-old girl from Ridge Farm, Illinois, who was a cheerleader and honour student at her school, killed herself after a torment of bullies
On Friday, Ashlynn Conner was dead, having hanged herself. She was found in a closet, hanging by a scarf. Her teenaged sister made the grim discovery.
Now, Ashlynn Conner’s grief-stricken family hopes that her story will make a difference in the lives of other children who are bullied.
Grief counselors, social workers and school psychologists spoke with Ashlynn’s classmates at Georgetown Ridge Farm Elementary School in Georgetown, Ill.
“We’ve had death before due to accidents and illness but nothing like this,” said Kevin Tate, interim superintendent of Georgetown-Ridge Farm Schools.
Kevin Tate is also a neighbor, who lives two houses away from Ashlynn’s family. He is one of many in this small town trying to cope with the news. “She had just come over last week. She seemed like a happy-go-lucky, good-natured girl. I just can’t get a handle on it.”
Ashlynn Conner’s aunt, Kim Wright, told ABC News: “If she just saves one child from being bullied, if one bully gets this message and thinks about it and says, I’m not going to make another kid feel that way … she did it.”
Ashlynn Conner’s death is the latest in a startling trend.
Two months ago, Jamey Rodemeyer, a bullied teen from Buffalo, New York, was found dead outside his home.
The 14-year-old was a big fan of Lady Gaga and sent her a message on Twitter saying: “Bye mother monster, thank you for all you have done, paws up forever,” before he killed himself.
Moved by his death, Lady Gaga performed her song “Hair” a few days after Jamey Rodemeyer’s death and dedicated it to him.
Eight-year-old Tori Blair Wilson hanged herself from a tree in May just 80 yards from her home in Palestine, Texas. Investigators believe she was bullied at school but failed to find specific culprits.
In March, Chevonea Kendall-Bryan, 13, fell 60 feet to her death in London after being hounded by other girls outside of school.
Perhaps the most high-profile cyber-bullying related death was that of Tyler Clementi last year. The 18-year-old Rutgers student from New Jersey plunged to his death from New York’s George Washington Bridge after his gay sex session was allegedly filmed by his roommate.