(Update: Adds details, edits throughout, changes headline)
Mayfield, US, Dec 12 (EFE).- United States authorities on Sunday were holding out for a “miracle” that more people are found alive in the rubble of a candle factory in Mayfield, Kentucky, which was destroyed by Friday’s tornado, a disaster over which there are discrepancies in casualty figures.
About 110 people were working the night shift in the factory on the outskirts of the small town of Mayfield, population 10,000, when the tornado struck. No survivors have been found since Saturday.
The company that owns the factory said Sunday that its death toll is eight workers, figures much lower than those given by the authorities.
Bob Ferguson, spokesman for the Mayfield Consumer Products company, said that eight people had died in the factory and that 93 people had been located alive, with fewer than 10 workers unaccounted for, according to WPSD Local 6.
On Saturday, Governor Andy Beshear said that 40 had survived, and that “it’ll be a miracle if anybody else is found alive.”
Beshear said on Sunday they had not been able to verify the company’s figures.
“The owner has been in contact and believes he has some different information. We are trying to verify it. If so, it may be a better situation and the miracle we were hoping for, but since 3.30 yesterday we haven’t made another live rescue,” Beshear said.
“I am praying that maybe original estimates of those we’ve lost were wrong,” he added, hours after he told CNN that the total death toll in his state sits at around 80 and that he expects it to exceed 100.
Thousands of people lost their homes, about 50,000 remain without electricity and telecommunications are severely disrupted, making it difficult to locate people reported missing.
President Joe Biden approved the Kentucky emergency declaration on Saturday, allowing more funds and personnel to be sent to the area. Three-hundred National Guard soldiers have been deployed in the state.
Mayfield was the city hardest hit by the wave of more than 30 tornadoes across six states in the country.
The tornado tore through this town, where on Sunday hundreds of people took to the streets to start recovery tasks, on its journey of more than 220 miles (350 kilometers) on the ground.
Local media reported that a photograph of a Kentucky family was found more than 150 miles away in the state of Indiana.
Such was the force of the tornado that Beshear said that it didn’t just rip the roofs off buildings, but that it “exploded” whole houses. EFE