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Tornado Slams North Dakota Oil Workers' Camp and Injures Nine

Nine people were injured at the camp near Watford City in the sparsely populated western part of the state.

A tornado tore through a temporary housing camp for oil workers Monday night in western North Dakota, injuring nine people and destroying more than a dozen trailers, authorities said.

Eight of the nine people who were injured were treated and released from McKenzie County Memorial Hospital, Jerry Samuelson, the county's emergency management director, told NBC News.

The ninth person was airlifted to a hospital in Minot, Samuelson said. No details on the extent of that person's injuries were immediately available.

The National Weather Service confirmed that a tornado struck the oil workers' encampment — known locally as a "man camp" — along U.S. Highway 85 at about 7:50 p.m. (9:50 p.m. ET) about five miles south of Watford City, about 15 miles south of the Antelope Creek State Wildlife Management Area.

It was unclear how many people were at the camp when the tornado struck. Tornado warnings had been issued earlier in the evening for Dunn and McKenzie counties, possibly giving time for residents of the man camp to evacuate.

The McKenzie County Sheriff's Office said between 12 and 15 trailers were destroyed in the storm, which also produced baseball-sized hail.

Volunteers helped search through the debris of the camp and a Red Cross shelter was set up to assist those affected, the sheriff's office said in a statement.

One of the injured workers, Tony Beyda, was among nine people who were spending the night at the shelter. He suffered a head wound and cuts on his arm.

"I saw it come at me," Beyda told The Associated Press, referring to whatever it was that hit him. He pulled back the bandage on his forehead to show the stapled wound. "It peeled it back pretty good," he said, referring to the skin on his head.

— M. Alex Johnson, Scott Kurtz and The Associated Press

Image: A tornado barrels through Watford City, N.D., on Monday, May 26.
A tornado barrels through Watford City, N.D., on Monday, May 26.Courtesy Larriyon Smith