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Girl Scout Hike Ends in Tragedy

Isabelle Meyer, 11, was hit and killed by a falling tree
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 25, 2019 6:28 PM CDT
In this March 28, 2016 photo, Isabelle Meyer of Jasper, Ind. adds hand sanitizer to gift bags for chemotherapy patients during a meeting of Girl Scout Troop 670 in Cannelton, Ind.   (Sarah Ann Jump/The Herald via AP)

(Newser) – Isabelle Meyer was hiking along a gravel road with three others at a southern Indiana Girl Scouts campground Monday morning when a tree suddenly fell on the group, killing the 11-year-old. "They were there to have a good time," an emotional Perry County Sheriff Alan Malone said during a press conference Tuesday. "Speculation that they were doing anything wrong? No." He said it was raining when deputies arrived at Camp Koch around 11:30am to find a nurse and Girl Scouts staffers assisting Meyer and the three others, but that no severe weather or lightning had been reported in the area at the time. He said he wasn't sure why the 40-foot-tall tree uprooted and fell, but noted that frequent rainfall over the past couple weeks had saturated the ground, the AP reports. "We could never plan for something like we experienced yesterday," the county EMA director said, per Fox 59.

Meyer was pronounced dead at a hospital, and was found to have head and abdominal injuries. A 10-year-old girl was treated for an injury to her hand, and two women, ages 50 and 55, suffered severe injuries but were in stable condition. ABC News identifies the women as volunteers. The four were with a larger group of hikers on their way back to the mess hall, but the group had spread out, likely due to the steep incline, the Evansville Courier & Press reports. Fox 59 notes that severe weather in the area Sunday night had downed trees, though it's not clear whether the two incidents are related. Girl Scouts of Southwest Indiana said in a statement Monday night that Camp Koch, which is its resident camp facility along the Ohio River and the host site for overnight camping trips, would be closed for an investigation. "There is nothing we take more seriously than the safety and well-being of our girls and volunteers," the organization said. "During this difficult time, the entire Girl Scout family mourns the loss of one of our girls." (A university student was killed in a freak accident over spring break.)


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