11:12 AM PST, November 10, 2021
A 14-year-old boy who was planting trees with a non-profit group at a popular park in Oregon was killed by fallen branch following a storm that had hit the area hours prior, officials said.
Christopher Kelly, a freshman at Central Catholic High School, was struck by the fallen tree limb in the area of Thousand Acres Dog Park at the Sandy River Delta in Troutdale, OR around 11:15 a.m. on Saturday, according to a press release by the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
A half-hour before Kelly lost his life, Portland police said, a homeless man near Northeast 118th Avenue and Sandy Boulevard also died, The Oregonian reported.
Deputies and medical responders that arrived at the scene tried to provide life-saving efforts, but officials said the teen did not survive the injuries he sustained and died, according to Sgt. Brandon Pedro, the sheriff’s office spokesperson, the news outlet reported.
“Our thoughts are with this young man’s family during this tragic time,” said Undersheriff Nicole Morrisey O’Donnell. “This weighs heavy on all of us in the first responder community.”
After the tragedy, the PPB North Precinct called an arborist to the scene for an inspection and to ensure that the tree was safe as it was “severely deteriorated,” that they posted on Twitter, People reported.
According to the Portland Police Bureau, another man was struck by a tree branch and was taken to the hospital. His injuries are unknown, the news outlet reported.
Kelly, who was described by loved ones as a “sweet” and “bubbly” kid had been planting trees with the local volunteer group Friends of Trees before the tragedy took place.
On Monday, the organization sent out a heartfelt tweet expressing their grief, People reported.
“As you may have read there was a tragic accident at one of our planting events last Saturday. We are devastated and our hearts go out to the family,” the tweet said.
The young boy’s aunt Kathleen Arthur told The Oregonian that her nephew was “so sweet, just a smiling, wonderful child who believed in volunteerism.”
”It’s just so tragic that this happened, it’s just so unfair,” Arthur said.
Melanie Kelly organized a GoFundMe to help raise money for the boy’s funeral and memorial costs, who she said will be missed dearly by family, friends, and classmates.
On Wednesday afternoon, more than $15,000 has been raised surpassing their initial goal of $8,000.