Man dies after home collapses in Kansas tornado

03/01/2012 5:00 AM

05/16/2014 6:11 PM

A man whose home collapsed when a tornado tore through Harveyville, Kan., has died of his injuries.

Richard D. Slade, 53, was taken off life support and died Wednesday evening at Stormont-Vail Hospital in Topeka, said Sharon Watson, a spokeswoman for the Kansas adjutant general.

Slade was injured when the Tuesday night twister flattened his home in the Wabaunsee County town. He was airlifted to the hospital and the decision was made to turn off life support Wednesday afternoon.

Slade’s widow said he was headed into their basement when the tornado lifted the house, moved it off its foundation and dropped it on his legs, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported. She told his story to Gov. Sam Brownback on Thursday while he visited Harveyville.

Diane Slade hugged Brownback after telling him how she and her husband were able to speak before rescue workers took him away.

“I did get to tell him that I loved him,” she said.

Matt Wolters, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Topeka, said the Harveyville tornado was on the ground for only four minutes, moving northeast on a 5-mile path. He said by the time radar images showed indications of a tornado, “the storm was pretty much done with.”

He said tornadoes can develop quickly, in five to 10 minutes, while radar scans typically are four minutes apart.

He also said the tornado probably was “rain-wrapped” and difficult for spotters to see. Authorities said the twister was an EF-2, with winds of between 120 mph and 130 mph.

As the massive storm system moved east, it spawned tornadoes in southern Missouri and states to the east. Three people — all of whom were in trailer homes — were killed in Missouri, and the tourist mecca of Branson suffered heavy damage.

On Thursday, President Barack Obama called the governors of six states hit by storms, offering his condolences and promising that the federal government was ready to help.

In all, 13 people were killed by the storms.

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