Rescuers searched for survivors Saturday after powerful storms spawned tornadoes that killed dozens as they ripped through the South and Midwest, flattening towns and turning churches into shelters.
At least 28 people were killed: 15 in Indiana, 12 in Kentucky and one in Ohio.
Rescue workers combed through rubble overnight for dozens believed missing after the storms struck Friday, according to state and local authorities.
“This is an enormous outbreak that’s going on right now across Kentucky and the south,” National Weather Service meteorologist John Gordon said. “It’s crazy. It’s just nuts right here.”
In hard-hit Henryville, Indiana, rescuers searched for survivors after a tornado swept through the town 20 miles north of Louisville, leveling neighborhoods, sending school buses into buildings and demolishing businesses.
“What we know is we’ve got complete destruction. We’re going to deal with it the best we can,” Sgt. Jerry Goodwin of the Indiana State Police Department told CNN affiliate WISH-TV late Friday. “We’re going to come together, and we’re going to get it done.”
With power out, authorities relied on thermal radar imaging, and search and rescue dogs to try to find a 9-year-old boy missing after the tornado struck, said Maj. Chuck Adams, a sheriff’s department spokesman.
At St. Francis Xavier Church, which was serving as a meeting and reunion point for families in Henryville, dozens waited for news of loved ones as rescue crews combed through debris.
Amid the mounting reports of death and destruction, there were miracles.
A 2-year-old girl was found alive, alone and injured in a field in Salem, about 20 miles south of Henrysville, Adams said.
No one is sure how the toddler ended up alone in the field.