Freak Camping Accident Kills Dad, Spares Kids

Lindsay Mannering

Not the actual campsite
Family camping trips usually yield funny stories and fond memories of massive bug bites, hot dogs being dropped in the fire, and hilarious tent assembly troubles. In this case, though, a New Jersey family's camp out in the Bull's Island campground was nothing short of a complete horror story. There was nothing fun nor funny about it. A tree fell on the tent of a sleeping family of five, killing the father and injuring the mother.

The weather was fine and the tree had passed inspection during the routine checkup before the busy season ... there's no explanation as to why it fell. The sycamore, weighing several thousand pounds, killed the father instantly and sent the mother into intensive care. And the kids?

They walked away unharmed. The couple's 12-year-old daughter, 10-year-old son, and 9-year-old nephew had nothing more than a few scratches. The tree fell on the sleeping family around 6 o'clock this morning and their names have not yet been released.

The story is a reminder of the power and randomness of nature -- we're here one day and gone the next. And while this news is heartbreaking, I do find myself a bit uplifted to know that the kids were not hurt. Of course I've never met this family and have no idea what they're like, but I would imagine that most fathers would choose the safety of their wife and kids over their own survival. I'm comforted to think that the dad in this case wouldn't have changed the outcome of the accident.

Maybe the family can take consolation in the fact that the father was likely killed instantly and didn't suffer any pain. I hope they can recover and heal after this tragic accident. I camp as often as I can in the summer and have never really taken falling tree branches into account when assessing the safety of an overnight spot, but maybe now I will.

What safety measures do you take when camping outside with family?

Photo via Baron Brian/Flickr

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