UPDATED: Youth dead as storm wreaks havoc across the Boundary
Christina Lake is mourning one of its children after trees toppled by near gale-force winds crushed a cabin at the local summer camp.
The 11-year-old boy has not been identified and the details of his injuries are not yet available pending notification of next of kin, explained Sgt Dan Seibel of the Kootenay Boundary Regional RCMP detachment.
Summer fun ended abruptly for 65 children at Pines Bible Camp, about 10 kilometres north of Grand Forks, when the camp, a popular local summer vacation for youth, was hit hard.
The violent storm ripped across Grand Forks, and the Boundary this afternoon dropping trees, power lines and closing roads.
“We have brought all the (rest of the) kids (to the Gospel Chapel), the kids are fine,” said Gene Krahn, executive director of the camp. “There have been some injuries, and the rest is still being assessed at this point in time.”
Krahn would not confirm the extent of injuries sustained by the other children at this time. A med-evac helicopter was seen by North Fork residents flying into the camp and returning indicating serious injury requiring airlift.
“It’s really unfortunate that this has happened,” Krahn said.
Local pastors, camp staff and youth and victims services counsellors were on hand at the Gospel Chapel to provide support to the children as they waited for their parents to pick them up. The full impact of the damage to the camp is still unknown.
The Boundary region thought it missed the monsoon rains across the Kootenays earlier this week, but a severe thunderstorm struck just before 5 p.m. this afternoon starting with violent winds.
“I stood on the deck and watched here and the trees were cracking,” said James Traynor a resident up the North Fork. “It was unbelievable, the tops of the trees were almost horizontal. They were leaning over that much. How in the heck they aren’t snapping, just laying down, the whole forest out there in front of my eyes, is beyond me.”
Both the North Fork (route to the camp) and Granby roads are closed about 10 or 12 kilometres up and residents cannot come or go as they wait on FortisBC workers to remove live wires. Fortis crews are coming from Trail, and Greenwood to assist.
Police, city crews and fire fighters are out in full force re-directing traffic and lending assistance to recovery efforts.
The B.C. Coroner’s Service will be the lead agency in this investigation and assisted by Boundary/Grand Forks RCMP.