Rescuers look for bodies among Kansas twister debris (June 12, 2008)

(CNN) — Rescue workers in Kansas searched for people Thursday among the wreckage left by tornadoes that ripped through the Midwest on Wednesday night.

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A tornado struck southeast of Salina, Kansas, on Wednesday, leaving a path of destruction.

Two people were killed as tornadoes swept across Kansas, destroying 60 homes and damaging another 60, officials reportedly said.

A man was killed outside Soldier, about 50 miles north of Topeka, said Sharon Watson, a spokeswoman for the state emergency management agency. His body was found outside his mobile home, she said.

A woman was killed in Chapman, Kansas. Her body was found in a yard, Watson said.

In the wake of the late-night destruction, authorities sifted through rubble on the ground and used infrared technology in the air to locate survivors or bodies.

“It’s so difficult to account for everyone in these types of situations,” Watson said. “It can take some time, unfortunately, for the search-and-rescue process, especially when you’re talking about a significant area that has been hit.”

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius visited Chapman on Thursday morning to survey the damage. She said two schools, three churches and several homes were destroyed and many buildings sustained heavy damage.

Sebelius said that at least three other people were hospitalized for serious injuries. Video Watch rescue workers sift through the damage »

“There’s a good deal of the town still intact, with trees upright and houses in pretty good shape, so it’s slightly different than our experience last year with Greensburg, where the entire community was really wiped out,” she said. “That’s the upside.”

In May 2007, a massive tornado nearly two miles wide destroyed 95 percent of the buildings in Greensburg, Kansas, killing 11 people and injuring dozens more.

She said residents in the areas hardest hit by Wednesday’s storms had about 20 minutes of advance notice, which was ample time for people in a state that takes tornado warnings seriously.

“There’s a sense of devastation on one hand,” Sebelius said. “On the other hand, the notion that they can replace basically everything they’ve lost as long as everybody they love is OK.”

The storm also destroyed several buildings at Kansas State University, including a wind erosion lab, and tore the roof off a fraternity house at the school in Manhattan, Kansas, said Cheryl May, the university’s director of media relations.

“Our campus is kind of a mess,” she said.

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~ by richart123 on June 20, 2008.

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