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MINNESOTA TORNADOES CLAIM LIFE

Powerful tornadoes cut a ragged swath of destruction across southern Minnesota, throwing a 6-year-old boy to his death and injuring at least two dozen other people.

Dustin Schneider died Sunday afternoon when a twister blew his family's van off the road and into a muddy field near St. Peter. The force sucked the boy out of the van and tossed him 150 yards.

At least 27 people were treated in hospitals in Mankato and Springfield, and three were listed in critical condition.

The twisters flattened homes, uprooted trees, downed power lines and shattered windows in St. Peter and Le Center in south-central Minnesota and Comfrey in the southwestern portion of the state.

Dozens of homes and businesses were damaged in St. Peter, a town of about 10,000 people.

The tornado that struck St. Peter skipped about 10 miles northeast to Le Center and flattened 32 trailers in a mobile home park.

In Comfrey, a town of about 550 people, the fire station, the liquor store, a cafe and a church were demolished, and the school was extensively damaged. Gas leaks forced residents to evacuate.

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