November 25, 2017

Search for missing toddler taken by Oklahoma tornado

A telephone pole stands defiantly as storms and tornadoes rip through Oklahoma.

Teams of rescuers are scouring the countryside in Canadian County, Oklahoma, for 3 year-old Ryan Hamil who went missing when a violent storm went through the area on Tuesday.

Ryan Hamil was with his mother and his siblings in their home when the storm hit, said Pam Capener, the boy’s great-aunt. “Cole, the 15-month-old, did not survive,” she said. “Cathleen, who is 5, is in the hospital in stable condition.”

Their mother, Catherine Hamil, “has a lot of broken bones, bruises and cuts, but I believe she’s stable now, last I heard,” Capener said. Hamil is pregnant, and her baby is due in October, she said. “They did get the heartbeat of the baby yesterday, so the baby’s stable.”

The children’s father, Hank Hamil, was out of town when the tornado struck but has returned and has joined the search for Ryan.

Capener says she believes the family had taken refuge in a bathtub when the storm barreled through. “I don’t know if they were thrown out,” she said.

Cole Hamil is one of more than 500 people killed in a historic tornado season, according to figures from the National Weather Service and local authorities.

The 2011 tornado season is the worst since 1953 when 519 people were killed in twisters.

Cole and 15 others died in the latest string of storms that passed through Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma on Tuesday.

Oklahoma Govenor Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency Wednesday in 68 Oklahoma counties hit by the tornadoes and other severe weather. Only nine counties in the state were not included in the declaration.

“Our hearts go out to those who lost their loved ones in the storms last night, and our thoughts and prayers continue to be with all the families and communities that have been affected,” Craig Fugate, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said in a statement issued Wednesday.

For the people of the south and mid-west it must seem like the hits just keep coming. It seems to be tragedy followed by tradegy.