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Apparent Tornado Rips Though Lambert Airport Causing Major Damage, Injuries; Airport Closed

A powerful storm pounded St. Louis Lambert International Airport on Friday evening.

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport is closed until further notice, after an apparent tornado caused major damage and injuries on Friday evening.

At a news conference at the airport on Friday night, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said the airport was hit by a severe storm with heavy winds and that there was a sighting of a tornado, but that had not been confirmed.

"That storm caused significant damage to the airport, specifically to Terminal One,  where most of the damage occurred," Slay said. 

Power was out to the airport Friday night and four people were transferred to the hospital with minor injuries, the mayor said.

Lambert Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge said Concourse C experienced extensive damage. She said most of the windows in the concourse were blown out.

The strong windows uprooted some of the furniture in that area and blew off part of the roof causing significant water damage, said Hamm-Niebruegge.

Ross Taylor who was boarding  a plane when the storm blew in and the passengers started streaming for the exit.

"Luckily we were still connected to the gate so we were able to run off."

He said the terminal was in shambles. He said the lights were out, there was glass and blood everywhere from where people had been cut. 

Governor Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency in Missouri in response to the severe weather. The Executive Order activates the State Emergency Management Plan, which allows state agencies to assist local jurisdictions with their emergency response.

James Baer April 23, 2011 at 12:20 PM
Tremendous spontaneous coverage by photo-journalist Fritz Faerber. He was on the coverage just as quickly as tornadoes and storms blew through St. Louis last night.

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