ATCHISON, Kan.—The families of three victims of the grain explosion in Atchison received tragic phone calls in the middle of the night. Gary Keil and his family went to the Bartlett Grain Elevator with hope still intact.
His youngest son Travis is a grain inspector for the state of Kansas and one of the three people initially reported missing.
"We all hope for the best and we hope our prayers work for him," said Gary Keil.
Travis Keil's three children looked toward the twisted top of the grain elevator with thoughts of their father who was an Iraqi war Veteran who wasn't afraid of anything.
"We hope we find out for the best," Keil said. "We gotta keep in the back of our minds for the worst too."
On Sunday morning, the Kiel's hopes were dashed when they heard the excavation was no longer a rescue mission, but a recovery mission.
"Obviously my folks are advising me that this is a recovery effort," said Atchison city manager Trey Coking.
The family's last shred of hope was torn.
"It just goes to show no matter where you are...at home, war zone or whatever...accidents happen," Keil said.