Hunt for survivors nears end after devastating tornado

Emergency crews were nearing the end of their search for survivors last night in the broken remnants of an Oklahoma City suburb where a massive tornado flattened homes and demolished a primary school.

Authorities lowered the death toll to 24, down from 51.

Fire chief Gary Bird said that he’s “98% sure” there are no more survivors or bodies to recover under the rubble in Moore. He said every damaged home had been searched at least once. Heavy rains had slowed efforts to complete the work.

Mr Bird said no additional survivors or bodies had been found since Monday night.

Authorities initially reported a higher death toll because some victims were apparently counted twice in the early chaos of the storm, said Amy Elliot, a spokeswoman for the state medical examiner’s office. Downed communication lines and problems sharing information with officers exacerbated the problem, she said.

The death toll included at least nine children. More than 200 people were treated at area hospitals.

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