Deadly Tornado Finds Oklahoma Fishermen

Friday, July 10th 2009, 10:55 pm
By: News On 6

By Ashli Simms, The News On 6

PONCA CITY, OK -- Three Oklahoma men left what weather experts call the most tornado prone county in the country to visit Lac Suel, Ontario on an annual fishing trip. Now two of the men are dead and one is missing after a deadly monster twister found them in Canada.

The News On 6 traveled to their hometown of Ponca City to learn more about the victims.

Bernie Jackson, Stan Hollis, and Dennis Kincaid went up to a cabin on Ontario's Fisherman's Cove for a little male bonding and a lot of fishing.  No phone, no television, and no way to know the storm was barreling down on them.

"If they had been killed in a car wreck I could more readily accept it. If they had fallen out of the boat and hit their head on a rock," said Lester Freeman, friend of the victims.

"But a tornado in Northern Ontario - it's very difficult to accept."

"From what the police woman told us it went through so fast that nobody even knew what had happened to them," said Sheryl Best, Bernie Jackson's sister-in-law.

Canadian authorities found Jackson's and Hollis' bodies. Kincaid is still missing.

Related Story 7/10/2009: 2 Ponca City Men Killed in Canada Tornado, 1 Still Missing

All three men had deep roots in Ponca City. Two of them were educators at Ponca City's east junior high. The third was a local businessman who championed Ponca City.

"It's hard to be standing here and not be with them," Freeman said.

Lester Freeman has joined that fishing trip for the last 22 years, but a back injury forced him to sit this one out.

"All three people leave a large hole in my heart and a large hole in this community," Lester Freeman said.

Rusty Benson is also a friend of the tornado victims.

"These three men were very active in the community, and it'll be a tremendous loss, and it will be felt for a long time," said Rusty Benson.

Dennis Kincaid's wife says she's still holding on to a glimmer of hope that her husband will be found alive.

This is peak tornado season for Ontario, but they usually log only half as many tornadoes as does Oklahoma.