Seven children found drowned in school amid fears 24 more classmates have perished after tornado pulverizes Oklahoma City suburb killing at least 91

Two entire schools flattened in Moore, Oklahoma after monster tornado touched down just after 3pm local time
Up to two dozen children are trapped under debris at one of the schools, Plaza Towers Elementary, where seven have already been confirmed dead
At least 91 people confirmed dead, authorities say, and at least another 233 injured in local hospitals
Children told to hold on to the walls, while teachers shielding the students with their bodies
Hundreds of homes wiped out and more than 8,000 people left without power after up to 200 mph winds pulverized a 30-square-mile stretch
Looting was reported in the aftermath of the storm, according to some news outlets
The devastating tornado was larger than 1999 storm in the area that left 36 people dead
More tornadoes now heading east towards Meaker, Ryan and Wilson in Oklahoma

The desperate search continued into Tuesday morning for two dozen Plaza Towers Elementary School children feared dead after yesterday's monstrous tornado, which already took the lives of seven of their classmates.

Under flood lights, emergency crews dug through debris and used jackhammers to tear away concrete, praying to recover the bodies of up to 24 students they believe are buried under the rubble and give their distraught parents answers, after hopes of finding them alive faded.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin expressed her grief on behalf of her state for the parents of the missing children, aged between five and eight, as the death toll across the heavily-populated Oklahoma City suburb of Moore escalated to 91 people, with some 233 injured.

'Our hearts are broken for the parents that are wondering about the state of their children that had been in the schools that have been hit today,' Fallin said. 'I know that there are families wondering where their loved ones are.'

She added that rescuers were 'looking under every single piece of debris' for the missing.

On Monday evening, the bodies of seven children who drowned in a pool of water were found under the flattened Plaza Towers Elementary School building after the two mile-wide tornado barreled through the Moore area at around 3pm on Monday leaving devastation in its wake.

Rescue teams, including 80 members of the National Guard and search dogs, had reported hearing cries for help from beneath the rubble of the flattened school but the screams reportedly stopped at around 6:30 p.m. local time.

The giant twister roared through the Oklahoma City suburb obliterating entire neighborhoods and pulverizing a 30-square-mile stretch with winds up to 200 mph. Block after block lay in ruins. Homes were crushed into piles of broken wood. Cars and trucks were left crumpled on the roadside.

Frantic parents rushed to Plaza Towers Elementary moments after it was pummeled by the storm that has been given a preliminary rating of at least EF-4 on the enhanced Fujita scale but they were kept back so search teams could hear any survivors calling for help through the rubble. The families were later taken to a nearby church where they continue the harrowing wait for news of their children. Some posted photographs of missing children on Facebook and Twitter, desperately hoping they'd be reunited.

According to reports, a number of the 24 missing students have been located in churches and triage centers, though it's unclear how many.

KWTV reports that at least 91 people in the area of Moore, Oklahoma, have now been confirmed dead by the Medical Examiner's Office, with more than 20 of those children. Those 20 include the seven Plaza Towers students as well as a three-month-old baby and a four-year-old child. Another three adults were killed at a 7-Eleven.

Also among those killed, a family of four with a baby near 4th St. and Telephone Rd. in Moore. Officials said the family tried to take shelter in a freezer.

According to KFOR, more than 233 injured residents had flooded into emergency rooms, including more than 70 children - though these numbers continue to rise.

After the monster tornado struck, around 80 National Guard members were deployed and first responders with dogs were drafted in to help search the debris at Plaza Towers elementary, hoping for a miracle.

Crews used jackhammers and sledgehammers to tear away concrete, and chunks were being thrown to the side as the workers dug. National Guard choppers were being used across Moore overnight to detect body heat of survivors trapped under collapsed buildings and other rubble so they could direct rescuers.

Devastating aerial images taken immediately after the tornado show Plaza Towers - as well as hundreds of homes and businesses - completely leveled with cars thrown into the school grounds by powerful storm. Students who were inside the building described clinging to the walls of the hallway where many of them huddled during the storm as the twister battered the school. Others cowered in closets or bathrooms to protect themselves.

Source : dailymail


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