In the midst of the destruction throughout the Midwest when tornadoes ripped through the region on December 10, 2021, two Hopkins County, Kentucky, children were carried away in a bathtub by the tornado, but they were not injured.
Matt Sanderson, sheriff for Hopkins County, Kentucky, told KYWX that the two children were missing and were found in a bathtub “not where the house was originally standing.” They were OK and they “do not appear to be hurt at all. They have been returned back to their mother.” He said authorities were still searching rubble.
You can hear audio of the sheriff’s comments below.
On December 11, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said the death toll was more than 70; it could eventually exceed 100, Weather.com reported.
“I’m now certain that number is north of 70. It may in fact end up exceeding 100 before the day is done,” Beshear said during a late-morning news conference in Mayfield, Kentucky, according to Weather.com. “The damage is even worse [than we thought] now that we have first light.” Among the dead are expected to be dozens of people who were working in a candle factory in Mayfield, a town that suffered massive destruction.
“There were about 110 people in it at the time that the tornado hit it,” Beshear said, according to Weather.com. “We believe we’ll lose at least dozens of those individuals. It’s very hard, really tough, and we’re praying for each and every one of those families.”
Here’s what you need to know:
The Sheriff Also Revealed That a Train ‘Has Been Turned Over With the Wind’
In the interview with KYWX, the sheriff gave more details about destruction in Hopkins County, Kentucky.
“There is a train that has been turned over with the wind that came through here, the tornado that came through here in this area as well,” he said. He said authorities are trying to assess what kind of material was on the train and how many people were injured in the area. But he described injuries “in this particular area” as minor at the time of the interview.
Nearby Mayfield was particularly hard hit, with people trapped and destruction to the courthouse and police station, among other buildings. You can see a round up of photos from Mayfield here.
The Banner, a local news site in Kentucky, wrote on Facebook, “There are reports of a tornado derailing a train near Earlington. A tractor Trailer also was flipped on 1-69 near the Earlington exit earlier.” It’s not clear whether anyone was on the train at the time or whether it was moving.
Hopkins County Weather wrote on Facebook: “Hey guys. We have (utter) destruction in Barnsley. Houses are wiped out, trees/power poles snapped in two, train cars derailed and thrown into houses. It’s a disaster area going into Earlington. It is best to stay home and stay safe everyone. Thank you for bearing with me on severe weather coverage tonight. I tried my best. -David F.”
A woman wrote on Facebook, “A mile wide tornado that has been on the ground for 150 miles is south of me. Lightning can be seen out of my back and front windows, the same strike. It’s that big. I am now getting hit by very heavy wind and rain. My TV goes in and out. Power off and on. Warning people in Hopkins County to take cover. Expected to cover 2 adjoining counties. I am northwest of this. They think this tornado is moving more than 50 mph. This tornado will continue northeast and will miss me.”
Another woman wrote, “Prayers for all the people hit by that awful tornado. The county(Hopkins) I’m from in Kentucky was hit hard. Trains derailed into homes, people posting they are trapped, towns torn apart….. so sad I hope these people get help. 🙏🏼🥺”
The Train Derailed in Hopkins County, Kentucky, Reports Say
A local man named Dee Stafford streamed this live video from Earlington. It shows people looking through huge debris piles.
“The train right there derailed,” a man says in the video. “There’s nothing left,” a man says.
“There’s a train derailed half a mile from my parents house. Lots of people w out communication at the moment. Thinking ab WKY tonight,” wrote a man named Brandon Cooper.
Kentucky’s governor declared a state of emergency. “Gov. Beshear has declared a state of emergency based on major tornado damage in multiple Western Kentucky counties. He has activated the @kentuckyguard and the @kystatepolice,” Governor Andy Beshear’s Twitter page posted.
He added, “We are praying for our Western Kentucky families.”
WTTL reported that, according to the Hopkins County Sheriff, “Major damage in Dawson Springs & Earlington. Mobile homes have been wiped off their foundation. People have been injured. 2 kids were found in a bathtub where the home wasn’t originally at. Also stated the kids were safe with no injuries.”
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