US airport reopens after tornado damage

by Alfie FEATHERSTONE on April 25, 2011

Lambert-St Louis Airport in the US has reopened after a tornado destroyed part of the main terminal building at the weekend. Debris was sent flying, windows were shattered and a large part of the roof was torn off at the hub in the state of Missouri.

Several airport and employees and passengers had to be treated for minor injuries but most scheduled flights were running again by Sunday morning. The concourse which sustained the most damage, however, could remain closed for a further two months. Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge, the airport director, said the hub would be operating, although it might not look particularly pretty.

Power lines and trees were also torn down by the series of storms in central and eastern Missouri and some homes were also flattened. The airport issued a statement straight after the incident saying all flights were temporarily cancelled until a full clean up and a safety review had been completed.
Tim Fitch, the Louis County Police Chief, was at the airport when the people watching the tornado suddenly scrambled for cover. He said that the first thing to happen was that the terminal doors were blown off, but that it was all over about 10 seconds later. He added that he was amazed that more people were not hurt in the ordeal.

Speaking to the BBC, Dianna Merril, who was due to catch a flight to New York, said glass and debris was blowing everywhere and the ceiling began to fall in. She added that the scene was like something out of a horror movie with even grown men crying in fear.

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