The girl died when the tree fell and crushed her just before 3 p.m. in Meadowdale Beach Park. She was walking with a group of teens.
A 17-year-old girl is dead after a tree fell on her in the woods of Meadowdale Beach Park in Edmonds just before 3 p.m. Friday.
The girl was with a group of friends on a walk, said Snohomish County sheriff’s Lt. Steve McDonald.
The teens walking with the girl “heard a loud snap,” he said.
One tree started to fall, and then three others connected by the same rootball came crashing down, said Lynnwood Fire Department Battalion Chief Jason Blachly. The teens started to run, he said, but the one girl was struck and killed instantly by a 50- to 75-foot Douglas fir.
“Some of the other teens attempted to get the tree off, but it was too large,” McDonald said. He did not believe the others were hurt.
Blachly said the tree had to be cut into pieces with a power saw to lift it off the girl. He described the soil as “supersaturated” from rainstorms.
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The Snohomish County Medical Examiner did not release the girl’s name Friday night, pending notification of relatives.
Because of the park’s steep terrain, the examiner removed the body from an entrance lower in the park, off 76th Place West.
Snohomish County Parks Director Tom Teigen said the fatal incident occurred about a 10-minute walk down a wooded trail between the parking lot and the beach. The park is near the border of Edmonds and Lynnwood.
Officials will assess why the tree fell, though downed trees aren’t uncommon during high winds, especially with saturated soils. Some areas of the region Friday saw wind gusts up to 40 mph, the National Weather Service said.
Last year, a rotted Douglas fir snapped during high winds in Seward Park, falling on top of a parked car while 42-year-old Eric Medalle sat in the driver’s seat. Medalle died instantly; his toddler daughter — sitting in the car’s back seat — escaped with only minor injuries.
Unlike some parks in the region that closed before or during last year’s windstorm, Seattle’s parks remained open during the high winds that contributed to the tree’s failure. The city has since closed some parks during severe weather events.
Snohomish County parks officials typically keep parks open during adverse weather, which was the case on Friday, Teigen said.
“We have 112 parks and over 100,000 acres,” he said. “Typically, we rely on the public to be aware” of conditions.