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11-year-old Girl Scout died after tree fell on her in ‘freak accident’ at Camp Koch

Photo of Isabelle Meyer courtesy of the Dubois County Herald

PERRY COUNTY, Ind. – An 11-year-old Girl Scout is dead after a tree fell on her and several other campers Monday morning during a hike.

It happened around 11:30 a.m. at Camp Koch in Cannelton. The tree, which authorities estimate was about 35-feet tall, fell on four people—two adults and two juveniles. It pinned the victims to the ground.

Isabelle Meyer, 11, suffered head and abdominal injuries. Medics transported her to St. Vincent Hospital in Evansville where she later died from her injuries.

The others injured are Melinda Garman, of Mount Vernon, Judy Kicklighter, of Evansville, and a 10-year-old girl. They are in serious but stable condition.

“We can plan for different events, but we could never plan for something like we experienced yesterday,” Steve Houser, Perry County EMA director, said.

Perry County Sheriff Alan Malone says there was no indication the group was doing anything wrong when the tree fell on them.

“It was a freak accident. I hate it, especially for Isabelle, but I hate it for all Girl Scouts,” Malone said. He said it looked like the tree uprooted.

“Perry County will stand tall… I’ve been here for a long time, and I know we will help these families out in any way we can,” Malone said.

The Girl Scout organization issued the following statement.

Girl Scouts of Southwest Indiana was deeply saddened to learn of the terrible incident involving a fallen tree that took place at our Camp Koch property today, resulting in serious injury to several campers and volunteers, and the tragic death of one of our Girl Scouts attending camp.

There is nothing we take more seriously than the safety and well-being of our girls and volunteers. We have closed Camp Koch while we work with our camp officials, as well as local law enforcement to investigate the incident, and will release more information as available and appropriate.

During this difficult time, the entire Girl Scout family mourns the loss of one of our girls, and we ask for privacy for the individuals and their families as they grieve and mourn this tragic loss.

Camp Koch is a popular place for Girl Scouts to go in the summer. It consists of 500 wooded acres in Cannelton right on the Ohio River. But severe weather passed through that area Sunday evening, and really strong storms knocked down trees and power to thousands of people. It’s unclear if those storms played a role in this tragedy.

The Girl Scouts of Southwest Indiana was hosting overnight camps at Camp Koch at the time of the tragedy.

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