Connor McLaughlin, 12, was driving with his uncle when the pair saw Roaring Brook Falls in New York's Adirondacks and decided to make an unplanned stop to hike in and get a closer look Sunday. Tragically, as the boy stood with his uncle Jesse Malone, 40, at the base of the falls, a rock dislodged from 100 feet above and fell—and while Malone yelled for McLaughlin to get out of the way, the boy wasn't able to. The rock hit him, and though rescue squads and forest rangers treated him for 45 minutes, he died at the scene, the Adirondack Daily Enterprise reports.
The rock was 2 feet by 3 feet large and, per Syracuse.com, weighed 800 to 900 pounds: "This was a non-survivable injury," says the coroner who did the autopsy Monday. "He didn't suffer. He was rendered unconscious immediately." He died of a skull fracture, and also received other blunt-force trauma injuries. Previous reports indicated the rock also hit Malone; the Press Republican reports that Malone ended up in the Roaring Brook water while trying to push his nephew out of the way, and received minor injuries himself. "They were simply just going by, saw the falls and thought it would be a cool place to go," the coroner says, per Lake Placid News, adding that the boy's uncle "is just so distraught." (Read more New York stories.)