Kentucky tornado death toll climbs to over 80, including children, Gov. Beshear says

A deadly tornado in Kentucky obliterated homes, left communities “leveled and gone” and killed at least 80 people, including children, Gov. Andy Beshear said Sunday morning.

Beshear’s office confirmed to Fox News Digital via email Sunday morning that the death toll had risen and could “exceed” 100.

“The confirmation process is slow, but from reports received we’ve lost more than 80. That number is likely to exceed 100,” the governor’s office said.

In this aerial photo, destruction from a recent tornado is seen in downtown Mayfield, Ky., Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Beshear said that multiple children were among the dead during an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“I know we’ve lost a number of kids,” the governor said, adding that he’s heard reports of a 5-month-old, 3-year-old and 5-year-old being killed in the tornado. “This tornado didn’t discriminate – anybody in its path, even if they were trying to be safe.”

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Beshear described the tornado aftermath as “devastation like none of us have ever seen before.”

The city of Mayfield, where a candle factory with 110 workers inside was decimated during the storm, was “leveled and gone,” he said, adding that half of his father’s hometown of Dawson Springs “doesn’t exist anymore.”

In this aerial photo, a collapsed factory is seen with workers searching for survivors, after tornadoes came through the area the previous night, in Mayfield, Ky., Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

In this aerial photo, a collapsed factory is seen with workers searching for survivors, after tornadoes came through the area the previous night, in Mayfield, Ky., Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Beshear said that the greatest loss of life was expected at the Mayfield candle factory. Officials have said that 40 workers have been rescued from the wreckage, while the dozens of others remain missing.

The governor said that the search and rescue process is ongoing throughout the state.

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On Saturday, multiple disaster-aid and humanitarian groups deployed to multiple states to help tornado victims, including the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse. California also sent search and rescue specialists to help Kentucky.

Beshear vowed that Kentuckians would “see the other side” from this disaster and rebuild.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said the death toll from a violent tornado that ripped through the state has climbed to over 80 and may exceed 100. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley) File

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said the death toll from a violent tornado that ripped through the state has climbed to over 80 and may exceed 100. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley) File

“We’re tough people. We’re going to get through it, but it is not going to be easy,” the governor said.

The swarm of tornados that ripped through the Midwest and South also killed at least six people in Illinois, where an Amazon facility in Edwardsville was hit; four in Tennessee; two in Arkansas, where a nursing home was destroyed; and two in Missouri.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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