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tv   ABC World News Tonight With David Muir  ABC  December 12, 2021 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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seven news at 5:00. we will see a back here tonight at 6:00. ♪ tonight, a special edition of "world news tonight" from kentucky. the deadly tornado outbreak. at least 34 reported tornadoes across eight states. the death toll rising. the staggering scope of the devastation now coming into focus. entire towns wiped away. rescuers working around the clock in a desperate search for survivors. homes, churches, and businesses now in splinters. one tornado possibly on the ground for more than 200 miles. potentially the longest on record. a candle factory taking a direct hit, with more than 100 people working to fill christmas orders. several ef-3 tornadoes with winds up to 155 miles per hour. one leveling an amazon warehouse in illinois.
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at least six people there killed during a shift change. a nursing home ripped apart in arkansas. families describing terrifying moments, hunkered down in their basements. on the ground here, we see it firsthand. neighborhood after neighborhood destroyed. the grandmother huddled over her grandchildren, one just 14 months old, saving them. one of the only things still standing -- her christmas tree. late today, kentucky governor andy beshear calling it the deadliest tornado event in state history. tonight, the national guard has now been deployed here, helping in the search for survivors. tens of thousands in the cold and in the dark without power and the temperature dropping. meantime, hospitals here in western kentucky already overwhelmed with covid patients, now treating a rush of victims pulled from flattened homes and buildings. a doctor describing the chaos inside the e.r. victims being brought in on pickup trucks. everyone jumping in to help, pounding on the hospital doors for help. and the powerful images.
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faith inside the storm zone. the first christian church in mayfield, destroyed. standing for more than a century. the congregation still gathering this morning for sunday service. the pastor on perseverance and faith. our team on the ground here tonight. a special edition of "world news tonight" begins now. and good evening tonight from kentucky. it's difficult to put into words what we've witnessed here. the scope of the devastation, just unimaginable. we're here tonight in mayfield, kentucky, that's the first christian church you see behind me, more than 100 years old. the entire brick wall and roof torn off. and as you can see, the organ, exposed to the sky. the tornado that hit here part
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of a tornadic super cell that carved a path more than 200 miles long. one of at least 34 tornadoes reported across eight states. a very rare december outbreak. at least 90 lives feared lost. but they're not giving up hope here tonight that they will find some of those people who are still missing. crews are still combing the wreckage for survivors in what is the deadliest tornado outbreak in this nation in more than a decade. here in mayfield, the county courthouse hollowed out, the clock tower also gone. the largest loss of life at the candle factory here, now flattened. workers on the late shift when the tornado hit. many trapped, waiting hours to be rescued. heavy equipment digging through the rubble. a number of people still unaccounted for. the governor here saying it will be a miracle if anybody else is found alive. but what he told me just moments ago. my interview with the governor in a moment. at least two people killed in northeast arkansas.
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a nursing home hit, aides using their bodies to shield residents. at an amazon warehouse in illinois, several people confirmed dead. the newly built structure still too weak to protect everyone inside. and in bowling green, kentucky, much of the jennings creek subdivision destroyed. cars tossed everywhere. at least 12 people killed. an ef-3 tornado, winds 155 miles per hour. but alongside the images of unspeakable damage, images of stunning grace. neighbors helping neighbors. we saw it firsthand today, strangers compelled to help however they can. and as the sun sets here in mayfield, kentucky, our drone camera capturing images of the heavily damaged church. but the congregation still finding a way to gather, and what the pastor said. we've been so moved by the people here, their strength. but there are many difficult days ahead. tonight, the harrowing images from above. revealing the devastating scope here. the aftermath of this catastrophic tornado outbreak.
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at least 34 reported tornadoes tearing through at least 8 states. several dead here in kentucky. late today, the governor describing the historic nature of this disaster. >> this is kentucky's most devastating tornado event in our history. we've lost far too many of our brothers and sisters. the damage is devastating. entire blocks, more than one block with nothing standing. to the people of america, there is no lens big enough to show you the extent of the damage here. >> here in mayfield, kentucky, their downtown devastated. taking a direct hit. large buildings gutted. the first presbyterian church destroyed. the courthouse, the clock tower ripped off. homes, neighborhoods leveled.
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street after street, we see it. homes wiped away. rooftops gone. the sides of homes torn off, bedrooms, living rooms exposed. the second floor of this home, open to the sky. this was a candle factory where several workers were killed. some 110 workers inside when the tornado hit. they were working into the night helping to fulfill orders in time for christmas. [ crying ] >> nobody can get to us. >> the whole building there. we're stuck. >> one of the employees, kyanna parsons perez, trapped. posting this video pleading for help. >> please, y'all, pray for us. get somebody to come and help us. >> they would reach kyanna, and pull her from the rubble. >> hey, y'all, they got me out. >> the fire chief here describing rescuers crawling over the dead to get to the survivors.
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>> we had to, at times, crawl over casualties to get to live victims, to get them out. and mark those casualties as we work our way through the rubble. >> at least 40 workers have been rescued. including jemaryon hart, who was rushed to the hospital. >> my main focus was just try to make sure i can, you know, savor every breath i was able to take in and watch my breathing. i kept hearing people around me yell, this person has died. this person is not responding. >> first responders remain at the scene. carefully combing through what is left. the desperate search for survivors. using search dogs to help find those who might still be trapped. the governor acknowledging it will be a miracle to find anybody else. we've seen the devastation firsthand here. neighborhood after neighborhood, nearly every home destroyed. you can really see the destruction just about everywhere you look here.
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and in fact, you go home to home and you see the same marking. a spray-painted "c" on the front of the home. this one completely sheared off by the tornado. obviously they've marked cleared since there's nobody inside. authorities going home to home to check for people. as we walk down the streets, the mattresses. the bedrooms exposed everywhere. you can see the mattress, the bedroom wall ripped right off of this house. this is repeated over and over again. of course, these hit right in the middle of the night. inside that home, tina snyder, a grandmother, hovering over her two grandchildren. 3 years old and 14 months. and a niece, protecting all three of them. >> we just grabbed everybody and we just hunkered in a corner. i put my niece down and my two grandchildren down and just hovered over them, holding on. it was -- i don't want to do it again, ever. so -- >> holding on for dear life, right? >> yeah.
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>> tina takes us inside her home to show us what little remains. her bedroom, open to the outdoors. >> this is where my baby would have been sleeping. >> and yet, in her living room, the christmas tree and the presents, untouched. tina, it's really something. i mean, your christmas tree is about the only thing still standing in the house. >> yeah. >> just down the street, james moore. a father protecting his children in a closet under the stairs. >> it sounded like a freight train coming through. you could hear stuff being ripped off. it was scary. >> the top of the house is gone? >> yeah, the whole top. we was pretty blessed. could have been a lot worse. >> you've got your mayfield cardinals sweatshirt on. >> yes, about all i have left. >> i know. >> what i had on that night. >> inside his home -- wow. all the walls ripped off the house. >> on both sides. >> it's just incredible. and you can see, none of the
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homes in the neighborhood are even standing. and the message sitting among the debris. stay home, stay safe. this is where his family huddled to survive. >> wasn't nothing even really touched in there. so we was pretty lucky. >> there is so much need here. it's overwhelming. we meet the young people bringing food. so you guys were all okay, and then you got out and started driving around and you just saw it. >> yeah, like i mentioned before, we missed it by a half a mile. it could have destroyed everything we got so we feel like it's our duty to come out here and help the people that were affected by this, obviously. >> well, we're glad you're okay and we're glad you're doing that. >> what can we do? >> this could very well be the deadliest tornado outbreak to strike the u.s. in more than a decade. it's believed one tornadic super
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cell, carving a path of destruction through more than 200 miles long across four states. at least four of the tornadoes were so powerful, they were ef-3s, confirmed across three states. bowling green, kentucky, hit with winds up to 155 miles per hour. the death toll mounting tonight. at least six dead at this amazon warehouse in illinois. that tornado, with winds of 155 miles per hour, too. at least two dead in arkansas. a tornado hitting a nursing home. tonight, president biden declaring a federal emergency and promising help. >> we say to all the victims, you're in our prayers. and all those first responders and emergency personnel, and everyone helping their fellow americans, this is the right thing to do at the right time. we're going to get through this. >> back in this mayfield neighborhood tonight, a woman telling me she and her aunt both survived, even though the top of their home is gone. she tells me she's grateful to the man who helped rescue her. >> some gentleman came through and brought me out. >> do you know his name?
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>> roy. >> you got his name? >> yeah. >> so if roy is watching, what do you say to him? >> i love you, and thank you. it's just, i just, i'm really thankful for everybody helping at a time like this. >> and we noticed something, her resilience. i can see on your face how hard this is for you. >> yeah, very. >> but you're here. >> i'm here. i'm alive. >> yeah. >> so -- >> well, it's pretty remarkable you're smiling, too. >> yeah. >> yup. it speaks volumes. we're so glad that she and her aunt survived this. and she remembers the name of that man who helped get her out. a short time ago, i spoke with the governor of kentucky. he's managing the devastation right here in his state nonstop, even as he's lost members of his own family. what he confirmed to me just before we came on tonight. governor, thanks for joining us. i heard you say late today this
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could very well be the worst tornado event in your state's history. >> it is the worst tornado event. 200 miles just in kentucky, of pure devastation. this town is gone. dawson springs, where my dad is from, just up the road, half of it is gone. more lives lost, more people displaced. it's devastating. >> what does this state need tonight from this country, and from the federal government? >> we need prayers. we're still hoping for miracles. every person we find or locate, we're just getting cell service back up. so we're finding people and every single moment is incredible. we need support. we need more financial support, whether to the red cross or the team western kentucky relief fund. and we need commitment. because a lot of people want to help today. this will take years to rebuild, when you look at what is around us. >> and you said you just found someone? because i know you said it would be a miracle at this point. >> we keep locating people.
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we have located some people, we believe, from the candle factory. the owner thinks that it might not be as bad. but we're waiting for full confirmation of that, if the death toll is lower than we think, that's what we've been praying for the whole time. >> we're all hoping for that. they weren't found in the rubble, but they were located elsewhere. >> that's right. >> which is very encouraging. >> elsewhere across the state, we are finding bodies. we have cadaver dogs in towns that aren't supposed to have cadaver dogs. >> you mentioned your father's hometown got destroyed. you lost some relatives yourself. >> my uncle lost two first cousins, in a town of 140 that have 10 dead. nothing is still standing in the town. my dad's hometown. i spent eight hours trying to get my cousin on the line. i saw her yesterday.e.- gave her a big hug. and she's engaged in the disaster recovery there. >> i can see it in your face. i'm sorry for your loss, and
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your family's loss, and what your state is going through. >> we feel america's love. we truly have gotten unprecedented support. we have a long way to dig out. we're tough people, but we're going to have to grieve together before we can rebuild together. >> governor, thank you. >> thank you. >> our thanks to the governor, joining us just before coming on the air tonight right here in mayfield, kentucky. and kentucky isn't the only state facing immeasurable loss. the amazon warehouse in illinois with at least six people dead. an ef-3 tornado striking, with winds of up to 155 miles per hour. the company now identifying the workers who were lost. rob marciano from illinois tonight. >> reporter: tonight, the families of the amazon workers killed when a tornado tore through this illinois facility, in shock. >> i walked out of that building after they told me my dad was gone. and i dropped to my knees and i screamed at the sky at the top of my lungs.
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>> reporter: today, authorities identifying the six confirmed dead after an ef-3 twister zeroed in on this warehouse friday night in edwardsville, just outside st. louis. winds of up to 155 miles per hour ripping the roof off the warehouse and collapsing giant workers inside.around the - among the victims, justice's father, larry virden. >> i said, "no, my dad's coming home. i need my daddy. he can't leave." >> reporter: her dad among the many drivers returning to the facility after finishing their routes, right when the tornado struck. the massive building, less than two years old, now left with a gaping hole the size of a football field. neighbors saying the destruction left this debris across multiple properties. tonight, representatives from amazon are on the scene assessing the damage. >> it's a devastating loss, but now we have to turn our attention to taking care of the survivors, the family members, our own employees. getting people back up on their
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feet. >> reporter: there are two shelter in place rooms inside the facility. employees are told to go there when the alarms go off. while six people did die, the majority of the workers survived because they went to those rooms and they had a plan. david? >> rob marciano with us tonight as well. rob, thank you. and of course, in bowling green, kentucky, where another tornado struck, killing at least 12 people. we take note, the hospitals there were already struggling because of covid. here's victor oquendo. >> reporter: tonight, in the hard-hit city of bowling green, new tornado victims still arriving at the hospital. it had to be pretty chaotic here. >> it was. i came on at 6:00 a.m., hours later, and every single bed was full. >> reporter: emergency room physician dr. grant fraser, describing how people with gruesome injuries were transported with no power or a way to call 911. >> multiple people came in by
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pickup truck, pulled up to the ambulance bay and ended up getting hauled out by staff. they showed up and they're pounding on the door over there. >> reporter: hospitals across western kentucky, already stretched with covid patients, treating scores of victims, crushed under shredded homes and buildings. >> it was just crush injuries from limbs to chest to brain and everything in between. if you can name a part of the body, i can tell you one patient who had a crush injury in that area. >> reporter: community members lining up at blood drives, eager to help any way they can. >> it just shows how strong the community is and how much people are wanting and willing to help. >> reporter: people in this community were jumping in to help even before the weather had cleared. and they haven't stopped. the turnout was so large at today's blood drive, there's another one planned for tomorrow. david? >> victor, thank you. on this sunday, so many here are turning to their faith to get through. we mentioned that historic organ over my shoulder, now completely exposed. and still today, they found a
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way to gather. linsey davis is right here with me in kentucky. >> reporter: in the midst of the rubble, they gathered. members of the mayfield community worshiping together for sunday service. >> this is a necessary gathering. >> reporter: many of those present without power. some even displaced from their homes altogether. the full magnitude of the devastation is hard to comprehend. multiple churches in the area were destroyed. many so ravaged by the storm, the heavens are now visible from the sanctuary. >> i see what remains of the church. and yet i see what matters most, the faithful that have gathered here in this parking lot this morning. >> reporter: dr. milton west is pastor of first christian church. the brick building that stood for more than 100 years, knocked down in a matter of minutes. >> i was here yesterday morning about 6:00. >> reporter: what was your first reaction? >> i am stunned by the loss of
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this building. >> reporter: in the midst of all the loss, the foundation remains. >> it's just very emotional. but it was very important to come today to have service because we need each other. >> reporter: at least one thing that remains intact for many of the people we spoke to is their faith. and the pastor says he is confident that they'll come back stronger and better. david? >> linsey, i know you were moved by this today. we all were. we needed that report. thanks to you. we'll have much more on these tornadoes in just a moment. but when we come back, what they're now saying about the "tidal wave" of this new omicron variant, in a moment. the snapshot app from progressive rewards you for driving safe and driving less. okay, what message did you hear this time? safe drivers can save using snapshot? -what's snapshot? -what the commercial was about. -i tune commercials out. -me too. they're always like blah, blah blah.
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we have two passings to note tonight. author anne rice has died. best known for her bestselling novel "interview with a vampire." and a famous mexican singer has died tonight. all over the world, they're remembering an icon of mexican music. vicente fernandez, he was 81. and we'll be right back. vicente fernandez, he was 81. it's a thirteen-hour flight, that's not a weekend trip. fifteen minutes until we board. oh yeah, we gotta take off. you downloaded the td ameritrade mobile app so you can quickly check the markets? yeah, actually i'm taking one last look at my dashboard before we board. excellent. and you have thinkorswim mobile- -so i can finish analyzing the risk on this position. you two are all set. have a great flight. thanks. we'll see ya. ah, they're getting so smart. choose the app that fits your investing style. ♪ ♪ you pour your heart into everything you do, which is a lot.
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>> next on abc7 news at can, here comes the rain. it's a soggy sunday in the bay area and this is just the beginning. and only at 7:00, here from governor gavin newsom about his plan to use the texas aboard tactics as a way to restrict guns in california. and he was a mexican music legend. we'll look back at the career of vicente fernandez. abc7 news starts right now. >> moving forward, finding solutions. this is abc7 news. dion: this is shaping to be a very stormy stretch of days. i'm dion lin. you're watching abc7 at 6:00. right away to team coverage
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