"Deadliest Single Tornado in Nearly Six Decades"

By Mary Collins
By Scott Sarvay

May 24, 2011 Updated May 24, 2011 at 2:14 PM EDT

JOPLIN, Mo. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - The massive EF-4 tornado that tore through the southwest Missouri city of Joplin has killed at least 117 people. Authorities warn that the death toll could continue to climb as and rescuers continue searching the area.

17 people have been pulled from the rubble and 1,500 are still unaccounted for.

President Obama plans to survey the damage first hand on Sunday.

City Manager Mark Rohr announced the twister cut a path nearly six miles long and more than a half-mile wide through the center of town, adding that tornado sirens gave residents about a 20-minute warning before the tornado touched down on the city's west side.

At the heart of destruction is the St. John's Regional Medical Center, a 7 story structure, now missing it's top two floors and all its windows blown out. At least six people died after the building took a direct hit from the twister.

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