Waseca, Albert Lea, MN Tornado Damage, Apr 1967
TORNADOES HIT ALBERT LEA, WASECA.
16 DEAD, 100 HURT, DAMAGE IN MILLIONS.
Waseca, Minn. (AP) -- Searchers probed through splintered rubble of homes smashed by tornadoes at Waseca and Albert Lea today grimly looking for more bodies in the aftermath of a night of storm terror which left a dozen dead, over 100 injured and property damage in the millions at eight communities and numerous farms.
The violent Minnesota weather claimed 16 lives.
A band of possibly a half-dozen tornadoes smashed across a 50-mile-wide area of southern Minnesota around the dinner hour Sunday night.
"It was horrible," exclaimed MRS. ARCHIE DRAHEIM of Waseca. "We were sitting at the dinner table eating when the picture window hit me and my husband right in the face. There was no warning. There was this terrible rain falling and all of a sudden I was diving along the floor with glass all around me."
She and her husband were treated for cuts at a hospital and released.
Countless others were similarly taken by surprise, even though a tornado watch had been issued by the Weather Bureau for the area.
The tornadoes roared upon them in the midst of heavy rains and nearing dusk, which apparently prevented them from watching the skies closely. Witnesses said the Waseca warning siren began blaring a couple of minutes after the tornado had passed.
One of the first on the scene at Waseca was ARTHUR KOST, whose ambulance service in Mankato took two ambulances to the stricken town of 6,100 some 25 miles to the east.
"I picked up two dead people, one of whom was almost decapitated," said KOST. "I saw several cars that had been knocked around like balls. At first, the hospital was a mass of confusion. People were sitting on chairs and lying on stretchers."
Five were killed in Waseca and two were critically hurt and taken to a Rochester Hospital.
Police searched the wrecked area today but reported no additional dead or injured.
More than 60 persons were treated for injuries and 14 remained hospitalized in Waseca.
Police said eight Waseca homes were destroyed and about 30 others damaged, some severely, on the south side of Clear Lake, where the twister hit. Many cars were damaged.
National Guard units were on duty guarding the twister-damaged area, a stretch about two blocks wide and eight blocks long in the southeast part of town. The twister skipped over Clear Lake and struck homes on the other side.
Albert Lea had a wider area of destruction, but the known dead there was two -- ELMER MANUEL, 41, and his wife LUCY, 46, both of Albert Lea. Ten persons were hospitalized at that city, and about 40 were treated and released.
The torando hit Albert Lea's west side, then slid around the north edge of the city of 19,000. It cut a path about 20 feet wide for 2 1/2 miles, damaging or destroying nearly 100 homes.
Victims identified at Waseca were MR. and MRS. JOHN RIPPLE, GEORGE WILCOX and MR. and MRS. ART RUX. The RUX car was blown off a street and into Clear Lake. MRS. RUX'S body was recovered Sunday night from the lake, while MR. RUX was thrown from the car and died later of injuries in Memorial Hospital.
Other victims were MR. and MRS. MERTON BICKFORD of Albert Lea, who died when another tornado ripped into their daughter's home about a mile west of Owatonna -- the northernmost report of a tornado touching down. Owatonna is about 50 miles south of Minneapolis.
The BICKFORDS were babysitting with their two grandchildren, who were hospitalized with injuries.
Killed near Freeborn was HARLAN HOLLESCHAU, of Shakopee, Minn., in his late 30s, who was visiting on his father's farm when a twister leveled the house and all outbuildings. Eight others in the farm home were injured and hospitalized at Wells, Minn.
Also killed were HERMAN NEHRING, Clarks Grove, and MRS. MICHAEL HASSING, 27, Alden both tiny communities in the Albert Lea area. The Clarks Grove man was caught at a gravel pit where he did construction work.
NEHRING lived in a trailer house at the gravel pit, and was killed when a tornado smashed it. MRS. HASSING was thrown against a tree by the winds.
Winona Daily News Minnesota 1967-05-01