Craig McKee's search for his family after Joplin tornado - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

News 8's Craig McKee's search for his family after Joplin tornado

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(CBS 8) - The news is hitting home for News 8's Craig McKee, who's from Joplin, Missouri. He spent the night searching for his family, and his father was the toughest to track down.

The level of devastation from the tornado is hard to comprehend. About one-third of the city was blown off the map, and the death toll stood at 116 as of Monday evening.

Just before our 5 p.m. newscast on Sunday, my co-anchor Craig McKee began seeing tweets that a tornado had flattened much of his hometown. Craig was born and raised in Joplin, and much of his family still lives there.

While we were on the air, Craig's wife Lynne went to work trying to contact their loved ones, who were checking in one by one. Craig's cousin sent him a chilling image as the sun set in Joplin, but by 11 p.m. there was still no word from Craig's dad Mike.

It was a sleepless night as Craig continued to monitor the devastating video and the death toll.

"It was a night of roller coasters, just crying sometimes and then being all right, the next saying I know he's fine," Craig said.

By morning, Craig had still not heard if his dad had survived the deadly twister.

"I was a nervous wreck because I still hadn't heard," he said.

The finally at around noon Monday, Craig got a message from his father.

"When he finally texted me back he said, 'I'm at the Home Depot pulling people out," Craig said.

Craig's dad had jumped in to help in the rescue and recover efforts, which doesn't come as a surprise. "This is who he is, that is his community. He grew up there, when the community needs him, he's there," Craig said.

Craig shared home video of his childhood in Joplin, including video of his father's first backhoe. His dad owned a construction company and has been involved in other rescue operations.

Craig's cousin Mike Bentley, whose sister's home was damaged by the twister, told CBS8, "You just wander around in awe of what's there, or rather what's not there."

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