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Tornado kills 2, injures 4 in Texas town



Published: Mon, May 6, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Tornado kills 2,injures 4 in Texas town

HAPPY, Texas -- A tornado swept through a western Texas town Sunday night, killing at least two people and injuring others.

Although about 20 homes were leveled, everyone in the town of 647 was accounted for, Department of Public Safety trooper Wayne Beighle said.

"We have found everybody. Fortunately all of them turned up," Beighle said.

At least four people were injured, city secretary Patricia Simms said.

Tonya Smith and her husband were driving toward Happy when they saw the tornado form.

"It happened so suddenly, we thought it was just a really big dust devil. It was right beside us. We stopped and watched it until we realized what it was," Tonya Smith said.

Authorities from nearby communities were helping with cleanup and recovery operations.

The tornado was one of at least six reported in the state Sunday. Homes and buildings were damaged by those storms, but no major injuries were reported.

Happy is located about 30 miles south of Amarillo.

S. African space touristreturns safely to Earth

STAR CITY, Russia -- South African Internet millionaire Mark Shuttleworth landed safely on the Kazakh steppe Sunday after a 10-day space voyage that cost him $20 million, emerged from the Soyuz capsule with a broad smile and said it was "the best thing I've ever done."

The Soyuz capsule landed right on schedule at 7:51 a.m. Moscow time, dropping through a clear blue sky near the Kazakh town of Arkalyk at the end of a more than three-hour descent from the International Space Station.

"It was just the most wonderful experience ever. It was fantastic," Shuttleworth, a 28-year-old Internet magnate and the world's second paying space tourist, said after the landing. A bystander handed him a blue egg in honor of Orthodox Easter and his father, Rick, knelt beside him.

"It was a wonderful feeling to see that parachute open," Rick Shuttleworth said.

The landing site was ringed with helicopters and surrounded by medical experts who administered checkups on Shuttleworth and his two crewmates, Russian Flight Commander Yuri Gidzenko and rookie Italian astronaut Roberto Vittori.

Wildfire in Colorado

EVERGREEN, Colo. -- A wildfire forced the evacuation of more than 2,400 dwellings Sunday as it spread toward several subdivisions west of Denver.

Thick smoke was visible in Denver, about 26 miles away. The Jefferson County sheriff's office was trying to evacuate houses within a two-mile radius of the blaze.

It was unclear how the 400-acre fire started.

Officials said gusting wind grounded air tankers and hampered firefighters' efforts.

"We haven't been able to get crews in front of it because this is simply just too dangerous," fire information officer Joe Colwell said.

More than 400 wildfires have burned about 15,600 acres in Colorado this year, according to the Rocky Mountain Area Coordinating Center of the National Interagency Fire Center.

Former actor assaulted

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. -- Former actor John Barrymore III was beaten in his home by teen-agers trying to steal his marijuana plants, police said.

Six teens arrived at the house in a van Wednesday, said police spokesman Jim Bennett. When Barrymore and his wife opened the door, they were beaten with a metal trailer hitch slung in a sock.

The San Jose Mercury News reported Sunday that Barrymore, 47, underwent brain surgery Friday and was expected to recover.

"We are lucky to be alive," Rebecca Barrymore, who is recovering at home, told the newspaper.

Bennett said the investigation is continuing.

Barrymore, 47, is the grandson of the Shakespearean actor and silent film star of the same name. Now dabbling in high-tech work, he has had several minor movie roles.

He and actress Drew Barrymore have the same father. Drew Barrymore is the daughter of John Barrymore Jr. and his fourth wife, Jaid. John Barrymore III is the son of Barrymore's first wife.

Associated Press




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