NJ campers, 2 and 7, killed by falling tree

June 30, 2012 9:27:12 PM PDT
Police say two young cousins camping with their families have been killed in New Jersey after a tree fell on their tent during a summer storm.

The state Department of Environmental Protection says the two boys, ages 2 and 7, were killed early Saturday at Parvin State Park in Salem County.

Authorities say the boys' families had been camping at adjacent sites when the storm hit, and the families decided to huddle together in one tent.

According to officials, the heavy winds and rains from the storm snapped a pine tree, which then fell on the families' tent.

Police were called and more than two dozen personnel responded to the scene.

The boys suffered serious injuries and died shortly afterward. They were identified only as being from Millville and Franklin Township.

Authorities are investigating.

Others camping out in Salem County got more of Mother Nature than they wanted Friday night.

"It was hectic," said camper Daniel Roman. "There were trees falling everywhere."

Friday night's storms unleashed a scary and chaotic scene at the Parvin State Park campgrounds in Pittsgrove Township, New Jersey.

Two young boys ages 2 and 7 were killed when a tree toppled onto their family's tent.

"The lady was screaming, and they were like 'c'mon.' They grabbed the kid and on impulse, they were like 'let's get this kid to the hospital,'" Roman explained.

But rescue efforts were unsuccessful. Camper Daniel Roman says last night everyone was fighting to survive intense blows of thunder and fierce winds.

"It was throwing me around like a ragdoll," he said.

He and his family packed in the car, but had a tough time escaping the wooded area.

"We saw vehicles driving, smashing into actual grills, losing pieces of their cars, and they didn't care. They smashed into trees," he said.

"It was crazy," said Ebony Leavy. "I thought it was the end of my life."

Campers who were set up on the grounds across the river tell us after the storm they were evacuated here to park headquarters in an effort to seek shelter.

The park had significant storm damage and has been closed indefinitely.

The devastation stretched all across South Jersey. In Vineland, Cumberland County, people said the storm sounded like a freight train.

"We went to Universal in April, and went on the Twister exhibit. That is exactly what it felt like, what it sounded like. I have goose bumps just talking about it," said Jan Burgos.

"Trampolines were flying, umbrellas were flying," Christopher Vidro said.

Power lines were knocked down, which meant no air conditioners for Saturday's blazing heat, but people powered on to clean up their properties.

Many flocked to area hardware stores, but even there they found little relief; emergency supplies sold out fast.