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Nation in brief

Flood sweeps cars off road, killing 4

By Wire services
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 1, 2003

EMPORIA, Kan. - Flash flooding swept seven vehicles off an interstate highway, killing four children, three of them strapped inside a minivan that was dragged for more than a mile by the rushing water. Rescuers on Sunday were still searching for the children's mother and a driver from Texas.

Everyone was accounted for in the other five vehicles that were swept off the roadway in eastern Kansas when torrential rain sent a creek spilling over Interstate 35 late Saturday, authorities said.

The children's father, a Liberty, Mo., man, was drenched when he told Trooper Marc McCune he had broken out the driver's side window and was sucked out of the minivan. The man tried to save his family, but the van kept filling with water and floated away, McCune said.

The minivan was found 11/2 miles from the scene with the children's bodies still in it. The fourth child's body was found Sunday morning about a quarter-mile from the van. The children's father survived, but searchers were still looking for the mother, said Capt. Mark Conboy of the Kansas Highway Patrol. Police have not released the names of the victims.

The only other person who had not been accounted for Sunday was a man from Fort Worth, Texas. Conboy said the man had called his wife Saturday evening, told her his Jeep had stalled and asked her to come get him. The wife, who arrived Sunday morning, has not heard from him since.

"We believe he got out first and was out trying to help people," Conboy said. "That was just based on what he told his wife."

The two missing people were presumed dead, "but you can't give up hope," Conboy said.

Army burns sarin gas

ANNISTON, Ala. - The Army on Sunday began burning about 800 gallons of deadly sarin drained from rockets, marking the most dangerous phase of its weapons incinerator use since the process began here Aug. 8.

The burn was expected to be completed about midnight, Army spokesman Mike Abrams said.

Sunday marked the first mass burning of the nerve agent and completes the destruction of 900 M55 rockets at the Army's newest weapons incinerator.

Woman run over at Burning Man festival

BLACK ROCK DESERT, Nev. - A woman riding a parade float at the counterculture Burning Man festival died when she accidentally fell under the vehicle's wheels, authorities said.

The death of Katharine Lampman on Saturday was the most serious in a series of accidents at the weeklong desert revel.

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