RCMP, coroners investigating after Victoria teen killed by falling tree
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Thursday, June 20, 2019 10:12AM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, June 20, 2019 6:23PM PDT
The Sooke RCMP and the BC Coroners Service are investigating after a teenage boy was killed and another injured when a tree came crashing down onto middle school students Wednesday.
The tragic accident happened at Camp Barnard, near Sooke, where students from Lansdowne Middle School were on a three-day wilderness trip. Emergency crews said winds in the area were blowing at 80 km/h when the tree fell.
One Grade 8 student was killed and another was rushed to hospital in critical condition.
"Emergency responders arrived and found a 13-year-old young man had become trapped under a fallen tree, he was unconscious and not breathing," the Sooke RCMP said Thursday.
"Life-saving measures were performed on the teen by camp personnel and first responders but tragically the teen did not survive his injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene."
The Greater Victoria School District alerted parents in an email Wednesday evening, offering counselling and other support services for students, staff and parents alike.
"This loss may raise certain emotions, concerns, and questions for our entire school district, especially our students," Supt. Shelley Green wrote.
"We are saddened by the loss to our school community and will make every effort to support you and your child as you need."
The district said a critical incident response team has been deployed to help the community through their grief.
Premier John Horgan tweeted his condolences to the grieving students and their families Thursday.
Horgan also spoke about the accident at a press conference in Vancouver.
"I want to acknowledge the loss of life in my constituency yesterday. A youngster from Lansdowne Middle School was killed in a tragic accident with a tree falling on him in Camp Barnard," he said.
"Nobody wants to ever hear of events like this and now we have families living it in Victoria. So my sincere condolences to the family and my heart goes out to those who are addressing this issue right now."
Officials haven't released the student's name, but the BC Coroners Service said he was a teen boy.
Scouts Canada, which owns the Camp Barnard property, said Thursday it is "deeply saddened" by the incident.
"The Lansdowne Middle School had rented our camp for a two-day field trip," said executive director John Petitti. "Our understanding is that the incident occurred during a hike to a local fish hatchery."
On Thursday, coroners said their investigation is still in the early stages and that they couldn't share any other details about the circumstances of what happened.
Camp Barnard caters to wilderness camping and offers a variety of programs for children and young adults. It’s located near Young Lake, west of Sooke.