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Tornado hits Scout Camp, fatalities

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LITTLE SIOUX, Iowa - An apparent tornado struck a Boy Scout camp in western Iowa on Wednesday, and local media reported four deaths at the camp, as well as many injuries.


A dispatch operator with the Harrison County Sheriff's Office said first responders were at the camp site and more were en route to the camp, located about one hour north of Omaha.


Arli Hasbrouck, a spokeswoman for the Boy Scouts of America's Mid-American Council in Omaha, confirmed for the Des Moines Register that four Scouts were killed in the tornado, but she had no numbers of how many were injured.


"That's all we know at this point," she told the Register. "We've got lots of Scouters on their way to help."


Terry Landsvork, a meteorologist in Valley, Neb., said law enforcement officials had called the weather service Wednesday evening and reported the deaths and injuries at the Little Sioux Scout Ranch in Iowa's Loess Hills.


"Last we heard, hospitals in Omaha had an alert for 40 inbound injuries," Landsvork said.


David Hunt, chairman of the Mid-America Boy Scout Council's Goldenrod District, which covers several eastern Nebraska counties, said the camp was hosting a leadership development course for boys.


Hunt said he didn't know specifically where the boys were from but thought they would have come from eastern Nebraska and western Iowa.


The 1,800-acre ranch is about 15 minutes east of Interstate 29, near Little Sioux. Its amenities include hiking trails through narrow valleys and over steep hills, a 15-acre lake and a rifle range.


The tornado touched down as Iowa's eastern half grappled with flood conditions in several of its major cities. The storm threatened to stretch Iowa's emergency response teams even further.


A meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Omaha also told the Des Moines Register that the tornado went through at about 6:35 p.m., about 12 minutes after the warning went out.


This breaking news story will be updated.

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