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Tornado’s death toll climbs to 10

SHARE Tornado’s death toll climbs to 10

PINE LAKE, Alberta— The death toll from a tornado that devastated a Canadian campground rose to 10 Sunday, after a victim in an Edmonton hospital died overnight.

Officials would not identify the man, but he was believed to be one of three critically injured patients at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. Another two remained in stable condition Sunday.

They were among hundreds hurt Friday evening when a tornado ripped through the Green Acres trailer park and campground on the shores of Pine Lake. Rescue workers continued checking the wreckage of the campground Sunday, and it was feared more victims might be found by divers combing the lake.

Efforts to find survivors had been hampered by the lack of an accurate list of people staying in the 429 trailers parked on the edge of the lake.

"How many people were here? We really don't know," said RCMP Const. Dan Doyle. "That's the dilemma."

Elaine McFadden of the regional health authority said more than 130 people received a range of injuries.

Doctors at the Red Deer hospital worked through Friday night repairing scores of fractures. The regular staff was augmented by 200 extra nurses and 50 doctors, including some from other provinces who were passing by or in Red Deer attending a gospel music conference.

"We had a tremendous response," McFadden said. "It has been very overwhelming."

The twister razed trailers and launched debris clear across the lake. One witness said the clouds boiled up like smoke from a campfire as the storm descended. Some boats were blown right across the lake. One 14-foot aluminum boat was wrapped like paper around a tree.

Claire Palsky, 68, was at a concert in Red Deer when an announcement about the tornado was made in the auditorium. He and his wife rushed back to find that rescuers had cut her parents from the wreckage of a trailer.

"My wife's mom and dad are in the hospital. They are both in their 80s. It took us two hours to find them. They are both OK," Palsky said.

Dutch tourist Ewe Pulsch was still shaken a day after the storm. He said clouds appeared to circle from three different directions.

Two women camping with his group were taken to hospital. They managed to capture the storm on video but Pulsch said: "I can't watch it now. I'm still shaking."

Help arrived late Saturday in the form of 100 soldiers from Edmonton, along with a team of military divers and 10 field engineers with experience in moving heavy debris.

The shattered main building of the park was turned into a makeshift morgue.

As divers dragged the lake, assisted by police helicopters with infrared search technology, others on land sifted through the demolished vehicles and campers. Elsewhere, police and civilian search teams using dogs hunted for survivors or bodies.