Eight killed by tornadoes in US

Last updated at 10:00 22 April 2004

America's mid-west has been hit by around 50 twisters, leaving eight people dead in Illinois.

The tornadoes cut a wide swath of destruction through Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

The worst-hit town was Utica, around 90 miles southwest of Chicago, which saw homes and businesses turned into piles of brick and splintered wood.

Eight people were killed in the town when a century-old building collapsed on them while they sheltered in the basement.

An elementary school, part of a grain elevator, dozens of houses and a number of businesses were also heavily damaged in the town, where people said they fled to basements when warning sirens sounded minutes before the storms hit.

Tornadoes also damaged towns in central Indiana, injuring at least five people and thunderstorms rolled through the mid-western states as the storms took hold on Tuesday evening.

Damage was also heavy in parts of Joliet, southwest of Chicago, though injuries across the region were described as 'few'.

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