‘This horrific tragedy also proved to be a miracle that the rest of the family survived this incident,’ authorities said
A 9-year-old girl died at a Maine campsite after a tree felled by strong winds hit a car where she had been taking shelter, authorities say.
Hallie Oldham, from Poland, Maine, was remembered as a “beautiful living angel” by her family after the incident at the Sebago Lake Family Campground, 20 miles west of Portland, Maine, on Thursday.
Her parents Jarod and Jennifer Oldham were preparing to leave the campsite with Hollie and her younger sister as severe thunderstorms swept through the area, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said.
Two large pine trees were uprooted by the high winds, with one striking the awning of the family’s camper and crushing it, the sheriff’s office said.
The second tree struck the roof of the vehicle where Hallie, her younger sister, and mother Jennifer were taking cover. Jarod Oldham was outside the vehicle at the time.
Emergency responders, family members, and campground guests worked to remove the tree using chainsaws, tractors, and a jaws of life tool to try to reach the 9-year-old, the sheriff’s office said.
She was pronounced dead at the scene, and the two vehicles were completely destroyed.
“Given the extent of destruction surrounding the Oldham’s vehicles and their campsite, this horrific tragedy also proved to be a miracle that the rest of the family survived this incident,” Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release.
According to a GoFundme fundraising page set up for Hollie’s family, she had been about to start 4th grade at Poland Community School and enjoyed playing basketball and soccer.
“Her smile, laughter and kindness for all were contagious and will be missed by all,” the tribute said.
Sebago Lake Family Campground said in a Facebook post that the storm “came out of no where and left massive devastation and destruction”.