Death toll from Joplin tornado rises again to 139

Reuters News
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Posted: May 28, 2011 12:13 PM
Death toll from Joplin tornado rises again to 139

JOPLIN, Mo (Reuters) - Seven more people were confirmed dead over the last 24 hours, bringing the number of fatalities from the powerful Joplin tornado to 139, the city confirmed on Saturday.

The tornado, already the deadliest single twister in the United States since 1947, injured more than 900 people, though officials said that figure could be higher because some people did not go to hospitals.

Six days after the tornado, officials were still trying to determine what happened to more than a hundred people missing and unaccounted for.

Authorities said 31 of the dead had been positively identified. Some of the bodies are in such bad shape that officials are using DNA, medical records, and even distinctive tattoos to identify victims.

President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit the traumatized city of 50,000 people on Sunday, following his return from a European trip.

(Reporting by Elliott Blackburn; Editing by Greg McCune and Julie Ingwersen)