Jackson, MS Tornado, Mar 1966
TWISTER HITS KILLS 58
JACKSON, Miss. (UPI) -- Police and volunteers began a sweep of devastated areas of central Mississippi at first light today in a search for more victims of tornadoes that killed at least 58 persons and injured 450 others in Mississippi and Alabama.
Authorities feared the toll would rise as searchers moved across rural lands where many farmhouses were flattened by the awesome storms which also spawned flash floods in portions of Alabama and Georgia.
Additional state troopers were dispatched to the Jackson area to aid in the search through a four-county area scarred by a destructive swath some 65 miles long. Other twisters Thursday wreaked damage and killed one man in three Alabama counties.
One twister hit a crowded shopping center in a Jackson residential area, killing at least a dozen persons. A family of six was wiped out when their home at Leesburg was blown apart.
AUTHORITIES feared the toll would go higher as rescue squads sifted through debris under emergency floodlights that gave the Candlestick Park shopping center in Southwest Jackson the appearance of wartime London.
Part of a weather system that also spawned deluges which sent hundreds of persons fleeing from flash floods in Alabama and Georgia, the tornadoes struck their most devastating blows in the Jackson area.
Roaring "like an express train," a twister plowed into the Candlestick Park teeming with late afternoon shoppers and left a rubble of mangled bodies and twisted steel.
"I've been in Korea and the shopping center looked as if it had been hit by a bomb," said KENNETH FAIRLY, city editor of the Greenville (Miss.) Delta Democrat-Times. "There was only one building left that even looked like a building."
A little girl ran from one of the wrecked houses as Mayor ALLEN THOMSON inspected the damage. "Where's my mommy and daddy?" she cried, and fainted at THOPMPSON'S feet.
Rescue workers uncovered six bodies in neighboring Flowood, and 20 more victims were reported at the Parkville-Leesburg-Walnut Grove area about 30 miles northeast of Jackson. A family of six was killed at Leesburg.
"Candlestick Is Flattened"
JACKSON, Miss. (UPI) -- The sharp metallic voice on the police cruiser's radio blurted out the message.
"Candlestick is flattened' get us some help down here."
Detective JAMES BLACK was driving, his partner JOHN MOULDER was riding shotgun.
"Let's go," BLACK said. He slammed down the accelerator. MOULDER worked the siren. We headed southwest.
During the brief six-mile ride, the police radio told the story.
EDITOR'S NOTE: KEN FAIRLY, this paper's city editor, was on assignment in Jackson when the twister struck. By chance, he happened to be among the first newsmen to witness one of the state's greatest tragedies.
From the squad car on the scene: "Get the rescue unit, get somebody down here to help these people."