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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Tennessee Town Devastated by Tornado

Aired November 11, 2002 - 12:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: It's shaping up to be a very tough day, as you know, in Tennessee. And that storm -- that state, rather, was very hard hit by two waves of storms. And by early this morning, 17 people were dead and another 140 or maybe 150 or so are unaccounted for even at this hour.
Now, dozens of them live in Mossy Grove, which came close to being obliterated. And we sent our national correspondent, Gary Tuchman, up there to check things out for us and give us a first-hand report, because the power is out, and we can't get pictures.

But Gary is with us on the phone from there.

Gary -- what have you seen?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Leon, I hope you can hear me, because phone service still out and no electricity, so we're relying on cell phone service, which isn't so great either right now.

But here in Mossy Grove, there have been scores of homes and businesses that have been completely destroyed, but like we see in many (AUDIO GAP) next to a home that's destroyed, you have a home that has been untouched. That's what happens when tornados come through and drill a path. It devastates some areas and leaves some others untouched completely, and that's what we're seeing.

In Morgan County, which is the county where Mossy Grove is, eight people have died from these storms that have come through -- one storm Sunday morning, another Sunday night. The last fatality, we have a very sad story. A fireman from Andersen County, Tennessee helping out here, looking for trapped people, suffered a heart attack. He was later pronounced dead.

But 17 fatalities in the state of Tennessee, 60 people hurt, and as you said, Leon, up to 150 people are missing. But authorities are just hoping these are people they just can't get in touch with because there's no telephone service, because there's no electricity right now.

We hear on the radio -- we're listening to local radio stations, and they're announcing names people. Relatives are calling up worried about their loved ones. They're saying, can you please help me find so and so and so and so? They're announcing the names, and they're hoping those people will call up.

But right now, you have scores of rescue workers on the scene continuing to look for the possibility of trapped people. They are hoping that the death toll doesn't go any higher than where it's at right now -- Leon.

HARRIS: All right, Gary Tuchman reporting live for us on the telephone from Mossy Grove Tennessee in a little town that was very hard hit by these terrible storms that ripped through the south and much of the eastern half of the U.S. We'll keep our eye on that story and bring you any other developments as they come into the CNN Center.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com.



LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: It's shaping up to be a very tough day, as you know, in Tennessee. And that storm -- that state, rather, was very hard hit by two waves of storms. And by early this morning, 17 people were dead and another 140 or maybe 150 or so are unaccounted for even at this hour.

Now, dozens of them live in Mossy Grove, which came close to being obliterated. And we sent our national correspondent, Gary Tuchman, up there to check things out for us and give us a first-hand report, because the power is out, and we can't get pictures.

But Gary is with us on the phone from there.

Gary -- what have you seen?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Leon, I hope you can hear me, because phone service still out and no electricity, so we're relying on cell phone service, which isn't so great either right now.

But here in Mossy Grove, there have been scores of homes and businesses that have been completely destroyed, but like we see in many (AUDIO GAP) next to a home that's destroyed, you have a home that has been untouched. That's what happens when tornados come through and drill a path. It devastates some areas and leaves some others untouched completely, and that's what we're seeing.

In Morgan County, which is the county where Mossy Grove is, eight people have died from these storms that have come through -- one storm Sunday morning, another Sunday night. The last fatality, we have a very sad story. A fireman from Andersen County, Tennessee helping out here, looking for trapped people, suffered a heart attack. He was later pronounced dead.

But 17 fatalities in the state of Tennessee, 60 people hurt, and as you said, Leon, up to 150 people are missing. But authorities are just hoping these are people they just can't get in touch with because there's no telephone service, because there's no electricity right now.

We hear on the radio -- we're listening to local radio stations, and they're announcing names people. Relatives are calling up worried about their loved ones. They're saying, can you please help me find so and so and so and so? They're announcing the names, and they're hoping those people will call up.

But right now, you have scores of rescue workers on the scene continuing to look for the possibility of trapped people. They are hoping that the death toll doesn't go any higher than where it's at right now -- Leon.

HARRIS: All right, Gary Tuchman reporting live for us on the telephone from Mossy Grove Tennessee in a little town that was very hard hit by these terrible storms that ripped through the south and much of the eastern half of the U.S. We'll keep our eye on that story and bring you any other developments as they come into the CNN Center.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com.



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