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Mich. camp counselor pinned for 90 minutes by fallen tree

Part of a large tree fell onto a cabin in Oceana County, trapping the counselor in her bed

Tree Falls Camp

Crew from Eagle Towing removes a fallen tree that destroyed a cabin and trapped a counselor for 90 minutes Thursday, June 20, 2024, at Camp Ao-Wa-Kiya in Oceana County, Mich. Police said there were 14 people, including 12 girls, in the cabin.

Andrew Heykoop/Eagle Towing via AP

Associated Press

BENONA TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A tree crashed onto a cabin with 14 people, mostly girls, inside, trapping a counselor in her bed for 90 minutes early Thursday at a camp in northern Michigan, authorities said.

“Thankfully, the adult counselor walked out of the destroyed cabin and appears to be just fine,” state police said.

Authorities were summoned around 2 a.m. to Camp Ao-Wa-Kiya in Oceana County, 75 miles (120 kilometers) northwest of Grand Rapids. Police said part of the tree had fallen onto the cabin with 12 girls and two adults sleeping inside.

An area towing service, Eagle Towing, was able to lift the “tree enough to get the lady out,” said Jack White, chief of the Shelby-Benona Fire Department.

“We couldn’t ask for a better outcome,” White said. “This is a Christian camp. My gut feeling is she was lying there, waiting for us to do our job, and praying while we did it. She didn’t need to be calmed down.”

No other injuries were reported among campers in the cabin. A state trooper had a minor hand injury.

“By all means this could have been a tragedy,” said Sheriff Craig Mast, who noted that there was no severe weather in that area at that hour.

White said a portion of the tree broke off and dropped roughly 30 feet (9.1 meters) before striking the cabin.

“Most of the other cabins slept through the entire thing. They didn’t know what was going on,” he said.