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Tornado rips through Kansas, 3 students killed

Christian Fernsby |
A tornado that barrelled through parts of Kansas destroyed or damaged hundreds of homes and buildings, injured several people and left more than 15,000 people without power, officials said.

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In addition to wreckage from the tornado itself, three University of Oklahoma meteorology students travelling back from storm chasing in Kansas were also killed in a crash Friday evening, according to officials.

Nicholas Nair, 20, of Denton, Texas; Gavin Short, 19, of Grayslake, Illinois; and Drake Brooks, 22, of Evansville, Indiana, died in the crash shortly before 11:30 pm Friday, according to an Oklahoma Highway Patrol report.

The three were in a vehicle being driven by Nair southbound on Interstate 35 when the vehicle hydroplaned and was struck by a tractor-trailer rig in Tonkawa, about 85 miles (137 km) north of Oklahoma City, the report said.

More than 1,000 buildings were affected when a strong twister swept through Andover on Friday evening, according to authorities. In the daylight Saturday, emergency crews found a more widespread path of destruction than was earlier estimated.

"We now know that our damage path extended approximately 3 1/2 to 4 miles (5.6 to 6.4 km) to the north of where we believed it to have ended last night, Andover Deputy Fire Chief Mike Roosevelt said at a briefing.

There were no reported fatalities or critical injuries from the tornado itself, despite the widespread destruction. Officials said only a few injuries had been reported. In Sedgwick County, three people were injured, including one woman who sustained serious injuries.


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