Girl, 7, dies after tree falls in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) — A 7-year-old girl has died after a tree fell on a tent in a Great Smoky Mountains campground overnight, according to a spokeswoman for the national park.

The girl is identified only as being from Georgia. Her father and two siblings were uninjured, according to park officials.

First responders were called to the Elkmont Campground 10 miles outside of Gatlinburg around 12:30 a.m. early Wednesday morning. There they found a large tree — a red maple — that was approximately two feet in diameter that had fallen on the tent, the park said.

The campsite and those immediately near it were closed Wednesday. A park spokeswoman said Elkmont Campground remains open.

This is the second child killed by falling trees while sleeping in the Smokies this year. In January, a 7-year-old girl was killed when a tree fell on a rental cabin in Townsend.

The region has received a large amount of rainfall in recent weeks, including a flash flood at Greenbrier Campground, roughly 16 miles north of Elkmont, on July 13. Greenbrier is fully closed due to landslides and washouts that park officials said made the roads too dangerous to remain open.

Emergency responders from Gatlinburg Fire Department, Gatlinburg Police Department, and the National Park Service responded to the call for help at the campground.



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