Victoria teen killed by falling tree died warning others, parents say
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Monday, June 24, 2019 9:29AM PDT
Last Updated Monday, June 24, 2019 6:07PM PDT
The parents of a Victoria teen killed by a falling tree on a school trip say he died trying to help his fellow students.
Tai Caverhill, 13, was killed last week on a trip to Camp Barnard in Sooke, where students from Lansdowne Middle School were on a three-day wilderness trip.
Winds in the area were reportedly gusting up to 80 kilometres an hour when the tree fell, killing the Grade 8 student and critically injuring another.
Tai was trying to warn friends to get out of the way of the tree when it happened, according to his parents.
"I'm so proud of him. All his life he works hard," said his mother Boom Caverhill. "Tai is very strong, he's kind, he's smart, he has a lot of energy physically and mentally in the way he motivates people with his kindness."
His father said he's concerned what the loss will mean for Tai's younger sister, Lanna, who was born with tuberous sclerosis and has had to undergo brain surgery in the past.
"She's got some anxieties…which our son did not have many of at all," said Graham Caverhill. "I looked forward to my boy protecting her even though he wasn't going to be in the same school."
With emotion quaking in his voice, Graham said his son touched people in his relatively short life and made an impact on everyone around him.
"They're devastated," he said. "He's really touched people big time and I also want to say that I'm just really overwhelmed at the outpouring of support that we've got from people."
Boom said she has decided to close the daycare she runs to take care of both herself and Tai's sister.
A GoFundMe page has been launched by friends of the family to help raise money for Lanna's medical bills, with half the funds to be donated to Tuberous Sclerosis Canada.
In just over a day, the page had raised nearly $25,000, more than doubling its $10,000 goal.
A family friend who started the page said Tai was a favourite at the Thai Kids Club of Victoria and will be missed by Vancouver Island's Thai Community.
Meanwhile, Lansdowne students will mourn Tai with a private memorial service held at the school Tuesday.
Students told CTV News Monday that it's been a difficult week following the tragedy.
"Everyone was hugging and asking if you were okay," said one teenager.
"We're just so heartbroken and our hearts go out to the family," said Victoria School Board chair Jordan Watters. "We know that Tai was just such a wonderful young person who had so much life left to live."
The BC Coroners Service is investigating the death.